Ex-EUCOM Chief Suggests Possible Shifts in Forces
Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis was the supreme allied commander in Europe and four-star chief of U.S. European Command from 2009 to 2013. Stavridis is now the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University outside Boston. As the U.S. and NATO alliance are moving quickly to redraw Europe’s military map in response to new signs of Russia’s aggression, Military Times’ Pentagon reporter Andrew Tilghman caught up with Stavridis for a conversation about the changes on the horizon for EUCOM. Stavridis spoke by phone April 17 and what follows here was edited for brevity and clarity.
Q. Admiral Stavridis, let’s look at the map of EUCOM today. I’ll ask you to tell us where you think U.S. military assets there might be shifted most effectively in response to concerns about Russia. Let’s start with maritime.
A. OK, we’re in the process of adding four Arleigh Burke destroyers and they will be based out of Rota, Spain. I think it’s a perfect opportunity to rotate those ships and other deploying battle groups to do some work up in the Black Sea, to go up and conduct exercises up there with our NATO partners — Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria. Just kind of operating up there in a presence mode.
At the same time, I think even more important, in the north, I would recommend that we have an especially strong contribution for BALTOPS, the annual Baltic operations exercise. I would hope that we would be adding some ships, and preferably some amphibious assault ships with some Marines up there.
Read the full interview