Army equipment stored in Europe reviewed by Inspector General

The army keeps the value of armored equipment battalions stored in countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, as it has done since the Cold War era.

Now that it’s been taken out of storage for the first time – to support 3rd Infantry Division troops deployed in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine – the MoD inspector general wants a report on how it is maintained and accounted for.

As part of an assessment slated to begin in June, the IG will meet with representatives from US European Command and US Army Europe and Africa to get a better sense of the equipment sustainment processes. and repair and possibly replacement plans as they arise. is used in support of NATO.

The review comes as the war in Ukraine nears its fourth month, with more than 10,000 US troops deployed across eastern and central Europe. While the discussion of increasing the number of soldiers permanently based in Europe – around 80,000 – has been in the air for years, the war in Ukraine has underscored the need for the United States and the countries to NATO to rethink where the forces are based.

At a press conference in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the possibility of not only having more troops, but also more prepositioned equipment, in Europe.

“That will mean more presence, more capability and better preparedness, with more NATO forward-deployed combat formations to bolster our battlegroups in the east,” Stoltenberg said on Wednesday. “More air, sea and cyber defences, pre-positioned equipment and stockpiles of weapons. And a new force model, with more forces at a higher readiness level and specific forces pre-assigned to defend specific allies.

The moves would be part of a new strategic concept to be announced later in June at another meeting, in Madrid.

How much of that will include US troops or equipment is still up in the air, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at his own press conference on Thursday that he had no announcement to make.

The US approach in recent years has been to deploy back-to-back troop rotations, training and training with Eastern European allies, bringing its own equipment while stocks remain available. on call for emergency deployments.

Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers in April he favored a compromise in which troop housing and facilities could be built to support forces. rotation, but not the type of setup that would include bringing in families.

“My advice would be to make permanent bases, but don’t park permanently,” he told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. “So you get the effect of permanence by rotational forces running through permanent bases.”

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at the Military Times. It covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership, and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT