In a move intended to show both NATO allies and the Kremlin the U.S. commitment to the Atlantic Alliance, as well as the seriousness of Africa, the U.S. Army has combined both its commands and elevated the commander to four-star rank.
This now places Europe and Africa on par with the U.S. Army Pacific, the only other Army component command with a four-star billet.
That’s why we advocated and pushed hard and got that done because, in his capacity, as U.S. Army Europe commander he is the joint force land component commander, and in that capacity if war breaks out on the continent, this is the officer leading all of those NATO elements under that umbrella.
U.S. Army Europe is based in Wiesbaden, Germany, and Army Africa is based in Vincenza, Italy. “Merging” Army Europe and Army Africa, McCarthy said, is “largely administrative.”
It’s a merger of two entities, so you look at where do you find synergies and where do you find redundancies, and you make those adjustments accordingly.
The move comes in the wake of the Trump administration’s plan to redeploy 12,000 U.S. troops out of Germany, and sending almost half of them forward to Poland on Russia’s border. It is unclear whether the headquarters will be consolidated or moved, but McCarthy noted he believed the physical headquarters would remain in Germany.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former U.S. Army Europe commander, told Defense News, “Restoring the commanding general of U.S. Army Europe to the rank of general, with four stars, is an important signal to our allies of American commitment and how important Europe is in our strategic thinking,”
Gen. Hodges added, “It is therefore also a clear signal to the Kremlin of our resolve.”