U.S. moving drones to Romania to monitor the Black Sea
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes Air Force unmanned aircraft are flying out of a temporary camp in Romania, a move that puts intelligence-gathering capabilities closer to the Black Sea as tensions between U.S. partners and Russia continue in the region. The shift south for a group of MQ-9 Reapers... Read more
Outgoing AFRICOM leader warns of worsening security conditions in West Africa
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks, who led U.S. special operations troops in Africa during a tumultuous two-year tenure, warned during a change of command Friday that security conditions are deteriorating in Western Africa, a region where four U.S. troops were killed at the start of... Read more
NATO tells Russia to stop new missile system or it will increase counter forces
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes The U.S.-led NATO alliance will consider bolstering its air and missile defense systems in Europe as well as enhancing its conventional forces if Russia doesn’t abolish a new missile system that poses a threat to the Continent, the alliance’s top official said Wednesday. “An... Read more
U.S. allies upping their NATO spending for fifth consecutive year
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes Allies in Europe and Canada boosted defense spending by a combined 3.9% this year, marking the fifth consecutive year defense budgets have increased among non-U.S. NATO allies, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday. “This is a good trend and we expect this to continue,” Stoltenberg... Read more
New acting Defense Sec. first days will be spent talking with NATO leaders
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes Incoming Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper will head to Europe next week, where he is expected to press allies to increase spending while meeting with NATO defense ministers. On Tuesday, Pat Shanahan resigned as acting defense chief amid reports that disclosed episodes of domestic... Read more
Pentagon sending $250 million in weapons to Ukraine to beat back Russians
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes The U.S. will deliver more sniper rifles, grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars and other gear to the Ukrainian military as part of an ongoing effort to bolster its defenses on land and at sea, the Pentagon announced. The Defense Department said in a statement Tuesday... Read more
Army upping single soldier European & Japanese tours from two to three years
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes Single-soldier tours in Europe and Japan will increase from two to three years in a move designed to save money and boost the combat readiness of overseas units, the Army said Tuesday. The policy change took effect June 1 and applies to all single... Read more
NATO membership talks stall with Iceland as country thinks about leaving
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes NATO’s top official in Iceland on Tuesday downplayed worries about a potential rift with the small Arctic Council nation, whose leader has expressed interest in quitting the alliance. “In democracies, there are different views and different positions on many things,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg... Read more
ISIS recruiting enough fighters in Somalia to offset losses from U.S. airstrikes
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes Islamic State militants holed up in northern Somalia are recruiting fighters fast enough to offset battlefield losses despite an uptick in U.S. airstrikes in the country, U.S. Africa Command said in a new analysis of the group’s force strength. Since April, AFRICOM has launched... Read more
Kosovo campaign now in its 20th year, Army Secretary wants to better manage rotations
John Vandiver Stars and Stripes The U.S. Army’s top civilian met with troops here Sunday to take the pulse of a peacekeeping campaign now in its 20th year, as allies continue with NATO’s longest-running mission in history. Army Secretary Mark Esper, who met with U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Philip... Read more

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