22 Dec 06. The outgoing head of US forces in Europe says American troop reductions on the continent have gone too far and that plans to reduce numbers further should be re-evaluated. US troop numbers in Europe have dropped sharply since the height of the cold war. From 315,000 personnel in the late 1980s, numbers have fallen to 100,000 and plans are in train to cut the numbers further, to roughly 70,000. But in a television interview to be broadcast on Sunday, Marine General James Jones said he thought the drawdowns had gone too far – and that he had officially reported his views to the Pentagon. Gen Jones was replaced this month as Nato’s military commander and head of the US military’s European Command by US army General John Cradock. Gen Jones said he was particularly concerned about the army, which, according to US defence officials, has 54,000 personnel in Europe. “As I left Europe, in my last report I expressed some concern that the size of the US army in Europe had perhaps gone too low,” he told C-Span’s Newsmaker programme. He said that, because the full planned reduction had not taken place, there was still time to take another look at the plans. “I think generally with regard to the other services we got it about right. But I think you might want to consider taking another look at the army’s posture in Europe.” He said the US needed troops in Europe partly so that they could be quickly deployed in trouble-spots in Africa and elsewhere. “I think the emergence of Africa as a strategic reality is inevitable and we’re going to need forward-based troops, special operations, marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors to be in the right proportion,” he said. The Pentagon had proposed the creation of a new Africa Command to reflect this view, US officials said. The downsizing of the US military in Europe had been aggressively driven by Donald Rumsfeld, the former defence secretary who stepped down this month. It has been accompanied by a reconfiguration of bases, including the creation of some new sites in countries such as Bulgaria and Romania. (Source: FT.com)
22 Dec 06. General Dynamics Electric Boat today delivered the Hawaii (SSN-776), the nation’s newest and most advanced nuclear-powered attack submarine, to the U.S. Navy ahead of schedule. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics. At a brief shipyard ceremony, Electric Boat President John Casey said Hawaii’s early delivery has important implications for the future of the Virginia-class program.
21 Dec 06. Pentagon Plans New Command To Cover Africa. President Bush is expected to create a new military command for Africa, for the first time establishing an independent operations headquarters that will focus on anti-terrorist operations and humanitarian aid, according to administration officials. The U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM, would oversee strategic developments and military operations across the entire continent, where a combination of problems-natural disasters, civil wars, chronic disease, and the growing presence of Islamic radicals-has destabilized some countries and created an increasing threat to global security, White House and Defense Department aides say. (Source: Boston Globe/Defense News)
21 Dec 06. U.S. And Britain To Add Ships To Persian Gulf In Signal To Iran
The United States and Britain will begin moving additional warships and strike aircraft into the Persian Gulf region in a display of military resolve toward Iran that will come as the United Nations continues to debate possible sanctions against the country, Pentagon and military officials said. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was expected this week to approve a request by commanders for a second aircraft carrier and its supporting ships to be stationed within quick sailing distance of Iran by early next year. New York Times/Defense News)
JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
21 Dec 06. Minister quits after Trident vote. Malcolm Chisholm has spoken out against Tri