No day isn't complete without Toni Fabuloso brightening my morning by ripping out the spiffing yarns from The Stars and Stripes for my perusal. Today is therefore brighter already for having been alerted to the fact that my favourite military hero, Bantz Craddock - late of SOUTHCOM is now EUROCOM.
Bantz ran SOUTHCOM (South America and the Caribbean) from the safety of Florida - mind you there are more accredited terrists in Florida than probly anywhere else in the world - but, thankfully, all in the pay of Uncle Sam.
Now , most of the time, Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock of the U.S. European Command, the U.S. military’s top general in Europee (since December) hangs around Brussels, but he was over last week in Washington telling the House Armed Services Committee what he and the boys got up to over in Europe.
“We try to shape the environment for the future. And that’s by engagement, that’s by theater security cooperation — not assistance, but we cooperate. We send our forces and they cooperate and train and exercise with partner nations.Which as far as Toni can translate means , if you want help in military missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran , North Korea, taiwan, well sir, you are SOL.
“Our ability to do that now is limited because we don’t have the forces available since they are in the rotation to the other [missions],” he said.
Craddock, who took over command of EUROCOM in December, went on to explain that coalition-building was one of the military’s top priorities, (judging by the success of the Coalition of the Unwilling in Iraq and the Coalition of Nervous NATO and the Unwilling in Afghanistan - it's something they need to work on - real fast) but its ability to do military-to-military events in Europe and Africa has ... er .... waned.
2 months in the saddle and he had a sobering message for the armchair warriors of the House Armed Services Committee...
“Gennulmen , I will tell you that I reviewed all of the engagement opportunities over the last two years, the exercises that we do, and asked for a listing of everything we had to cancel and why. And it was surprising in its volume.Which was enough to set the Committe back on it's heels. Then .... then his batman stepped up to the plate (as it were) with even worse news...
“In other words, there was more there than I expected.”
A Navy-led exercise called Adriatic Phiblex in the Adriatic Sea and the Army-led Victory Strike in Poland were among recent cancellations. Partner-unit engagements, troop exchanges and social opportunities also have diminished, according to a EUCOM spokesman speaking on background.Take note Gennulmen , "social opportunities"... diminished. We may be over there, we may be overpaid, we may be oversexed but damn it all, social opportunities are diminished - wasn't like this in Palm Beach. No Sir!!!
Then as Toni breathlessly pointed out... the military mind in Excelsis, instantly seized the sitrep (Situation report)...
Craddock called the U.S. Europe-based troops — many of whom have been deployed numerous times to Iraq and Afghanistan — “an incredibly talented, veteran force.”That's right Gennulmen, even in this technological age .... dammit ... our guys cain't be in 2 places at the same time. Stands to reason.
But he added that if they were somewhere else, they couldn’t help out in Europe or Africa should trouble arise.
Cannily Craddock , the Calculating military genius, encapsulated in the crisp way the military have, and do so readily, - giving the broad picture - the revealing review - the tour d'horizon...
Transformation plans in place (Plan B : Get outta Europe) demand reduction of forces from 62,000 three years ago to about 28,000, by 2012.The Air Force and Navy (The guys with the planes and boats) also have made "adjustments" to their forces in Europe.
“Let’s validate the posture,” Craddock said, “because it may well be that our ability to support the national military strategy and the plan we made in 2002 with the numbers of forces may need adjustment.”"Let's validate the posture Fabuloso ",I said ... she shot me a glance.