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The U.S. Army in Europe: A Pillar of America’s Defense Strategy

December 15, 2011

The United States’ global presence and influence are the foundation of its strategic strength and flexibility. However, as one former President noted: “Our real problem . . . is not our strength today; it is rather the vital necessity of action today to ensure our strength tomorrow.”1 While the specifics of the geopolitical landscape may have changed since then, the underlying themes remain constant. The Quadrennial Defense Review of 2010 laid out four principles that echo the past: prevail in today’s wars, prevent the wars of tomorrow, prepare to defeat a wide variety of adversaries and preserve the all-volunteer force. The Army has embodied these themes in the past decade of war, transforming and adapting to meet current challenges while also readying for the future. The U.S. Army is the global force for decisive action and will remain so. The challenge moving forward is to wisely share resources and burdens in an effective manner.

U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) is a critical component of the Army’s global force. The retention of an effective land force in Europe directly affects the United States’ ability to execute national strategic imperatives and appropriately share the burden of collective security. U.S. forward-deployed forces are not vestiges of the Cold War. They are available, relevant and experienced forces that provide combat power, crisis response capability and—just as critical—allied-nation training and partnerships. As the United States broadens its focus to prevail against future hybrid threats, the Army’s ability to provide depth and versatility to the joint force and respond quickly to a contingency with trained and ready allies will only become more critical. U.S. Army Europe is one of the premier instruments for rapid, multinational power projection. Maintaining this force at an effective level is not a cost; it is an investment in the enduring security of the United States and the world.