Washington, D.C. -- Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr, director of The Heritage Foundation's Center For National Defense, released the following response Wednesday to testimony by Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the top U.S. commander in Europe, before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, in which he called for an increased U.S. military presence in Europe:
“General Curtis Scaparrotti’s testimony calling for increased U.S. military presence in Europe highlights a troubling reality: American military might on the continent – the primary bulwark against Russian aggression – is merely a shadow of its former self. At the height of the Cold War there were some 400,000 U.S. forces on the European continent. Today there are around 62,000. Even though the 2018 National Defense Strategy calls on the Department of Defense to ‘develop a lethal, agile and resilient force posture and employment,’ there has been no move yet to bolster the meager U.S. military presence in Europe.
“That must change. Russia’s advantage over the U.S. and our allies in the region continues to grow. As The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of U.S. Military Strength highlights, Russian military forces would vastly outnumber NATO forces in the vicinity of the Baltic states, a potential future battleground. The Trump administration must move swiftly to remedy this shortfall and forward-station more capabilities in Europe.”