A space-squeezed Army faces limited options to expand in Europe

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Brig. Gen. Jaroslaw Gromadzinski, left, commander of the 15th Mechanized Brigade (Poland), and Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of the U.S. Army Europe, attend a training exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, on Jan. 31, 2017. Hodges said there are no plans yet for a military expansion in Europe. (GERTRUD ZACH/U.S. ARMY)
From Stripes.com
Brig. Gen. Jaroslaw Gromadzinski, left, commander of the 15th Mechanized Brigade (Poland), and Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of the U.S. Army Europe, attend a training exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, on Jan. 31, 2017. Hodges said there are no plans yet for a military expansion in Europe. (GERTRUD ZACH/U.S. ARMY)

A space-squeezed Army faces limited options to expand in Europe

by: John Vandiver | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: March 18, 2017
STUTTGART, Germany — When the Army wanted to position more tanks in Europe in 2015, commanders were in a bind.
 
The U.S. Army in Europe was 48 hours away from handing over one of its facilities to the Germans, when a last-minute deal was struck to hold onto Mannheim’s Coleman Barracks instead of going ahead with a long-planned closure.
 
The agreement to delay returning the post paved the way for bringing a brigade’s worth of military hardware to Europe, and set in motion an effort to rebuild Army firepower to contend with a more assertive Russia. But that scramble highlights the kind of difficulties USAREUR faces going forward as it contemplates something unthinkable just a few years ago — the possibility of boosting troop numbers in Europe.
 
After a post-Cold War era in which the military in Europe was at risk of being downsized into virtual non-existence, commanders are now quietly planning for a larger mission. That presents an immediate practical problem: if the Pentagon decides to send in more soldiers, there are few places left to put them after decades of drawdowns.
 
“There are no plans to ... expand in Germany yet, but I think it is prudent of us to identify if we had to where would that go,” USAREUR Chief Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told Stars and Stripes.
 
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