Top general wants more troops in Europe to deter Russia

Top general wants more troops in Europe to deter Russia
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The general in charge of U.S. military operations in Europe said Tuesday that the United States needs more troops in Europe to deter an increasingly aggressive Russia.

Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, head of U.S. European Command, told lawmakers that U.S. force posture — which includes two brigade combat teams and one rotational brigade in Europe — must increase over time.

“Russia’s posture is not a light force, it’s a heavy force,” he said during a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing.

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“In order to have the posture that is both credible and of the right composition, we need more armored forces … to make sure that we do have a force of enough size that enables us to deter Russia.”

Scaparrotti also said lawmakers should consider sending more “enablers” to Europe, such as engineers and aviation brigades.

Scaparrotti has frequently advocated for the U.S. to counter Russia’s aggressive behavior, saying in March that EUCOM hopes to obtain more troops, systems and munitions. He added that the command is coordinating with the Pentagon for “additional maneuver forces, combat air squadrons, anti-submarine capabilities, a carrier strike group and maritime amphibious capabilities.”

The U.S. military has about 62,000 troops in Europe today, down from a Cold War high of 300,000.