U.S. Military to Strengthen Presence in Europe

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On 14 November, the US House of Representatives passed a compromise defence policy bill covering $692 billion in military spending for fiscal year 2017-18.

There is also $60 billion in the budget for conducting war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, as well as other countries. But also allocated $4.8 billion to the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI), an increase of $1.4 billion on 2017. Total the initiative increased in appropriation from a $985 in 2015 operation to $4.8 billion by 2018.

The budget calls for more missile defense capabilities in Europe, with about $50 million for the development of “active defenses to counter (Russian) ground-launched missile systems with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.”

The House cited Russia’s alleged violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty as a reason for adding defenses. The budget sets aside more intelligence and surveillance assets for Europe, which have been in high demand since 2015.

More: F-22 Raptor aircraft have deployed to Europe

The fiscal 2018 ERI budget request also includes $150 million to continue train, equip and advise efforts to build Ukraine’s capacity to conduct internal defense operations to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity and support institutional transformation efforts, according to the fiscal 2018 budget document.

The ERI is a program that was initiated in June 2014, about three months after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, by the White House to increase the U.S. presence in Europe for security purposes.

More: US self-propelled artillery batteries are preparing for a potential war in Europe

Since Russia’s 2014 intervention in Ukraine, years of steady drawdown in Europe have come to a halt. Large U.S. troop rotations along NATO’s eastern flank are a linchpin to the reinvigorated campaign. The stockpiling of a wide range of weaponry throughout Europe has involved the return of Army tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, along with artillery.


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