U.S. Air Forces Europe Takes Aim at Russia

April 7 (EIRNS)—In a speech delivered to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., on April 5, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter named Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, followed by terrorism, as the “five strategic challenges” that the Pentagon is facing. One of NATO’s “very necessary tasks,” he said, “is to stand tall against the Russians—the possibility of Russian aggression in Europe.”

In remarks delivered at a Pentagon breakfast meeting  a few hours earlier, Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe, told reporters  that he’s looking to more aggressively posture his forces in Eastern Europe, by expanding the capacity of existing air bases and by looking at temporary deployment locations, in what amounts to the Air Force equivalent of the Army’s prepositioning/rotational deployment plans for the same region.

“Another activity which I’m keen on [is] continuing to develop the airfields, particularly on the eastern side of NATO: the Baltics, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, and then a couple of other projects elsewhere that would make an easier place to go to accomplish what I call high-volume/high-velocity kind of operations,” he said, reports National Defense magazine. The service needs additional airfields with strong runways, ramps, fuel and weapons storage, he said. “All of those kinds of things that would allow us to react and to accept force if necessary in order to create an airfield environment where we could generate sorties [and] combat power from the air as part of the joint campaign,” he said.

This is in line with Gen. Philip Breedlove’s statements in the Baltics of last week, in which he said that NATO needs to move from “reassurance” and air policing, to air defense and war-fighting.

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