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US Army merges Europe, Africa commands to boost ‘regional readiness’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Army Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli assumed command of the consolidated US Army Europe and Africa on Oct. 1, 2020. (File photo)

The US Army has announced the merging of its commands responsible for military operations in Europe and Africa into a single command under a four-star general that will be based in Germany.

The Army’s new US Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) will combine the former US Army Europe and former US Army Africa into a new organization but soldiers will not move from their existing locations under the plan, said an Army spokeswoman on Friday as quoted in the Washington-based Stars and Stripes military newspaper.

Announcing the consolidation in a statement, Army officials further declared that combining the two commands was aimed at streamlining operations between the interconnected operational theaters in Europe and Africa.

“This consolidation enhances global and regional readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy claimed. “The new structure will increase command and control effectiveness, flexibility and the capability to conduct large-scale, joint and multi-domain operations.”

The USAREUR-AF will be led by Gen. Christopher Cavoli, who had previously commanded US Army Europe as a three-star general since 2018. The former US Army Africa Commander Maj. Gen. Andy Rohling, will now serve as USAREUR-AF’s deputy commander for Africa and he will also command the Southern European Task Force-Africa (SETAF-AF), according to the US Army.

The Friday announcement came after Army officials acknowledged the planned changes back in October without elaborating. It also comes as the Army’s new V (Fifth) Corps arrived in Poland on Friday to open its forward headquarters in Poznan.

In Europe, the new US Army Europe and Africa command is to focus “on high-level planning and operations, while V Corps takes responsibility of rotational units’ training operations and work with allies, largely to deter Russian aggression in the region,” according to the report.

The USAREUR-AF will be headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, where US Army Europe had been based. This is while American troops assigned to the former US Army Africa will remain at Vicenza, Italy, where that command had been posted.

The enhancement of the US Army’s command in Europe and Africa signals its commitment to the European theater, American officials said as cited in the report, further adding that they expect to boost the number of units training on the continent in the coming years.

The only other regional Army command led by a four-star general is US Army Pacific, which oversees military operations in the Indo-Pacific region, which the Pentagon regards as the most important strategic region as it aims to counter expanding Chinese influence and military might there.

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