by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The commander of the European Command told Congress on Tuesday that U.S. forces in Europe need more troops, ships, and weapons to deter growing threats from Russia.
Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, also the NATO commander, said his forces need two more Aegis warships to bolster six destroyers currently deployed in Europe, along with greater intelligence and surveillance capabilities.
Threats to the region are “real and growing” while “Russia remains the primary threat to a stable Euro-Atlantic security environment,” Scaparrotti told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Russia under President Vladimir Putin has undertaken a large-scale military buildup since 2006 that includes new ballistic and cruise missiles, both conventional and nuclear, along with nuclear missile submarines.
Putin announced recently that three new strategic weapons were being developed and fielded, including a long-range nuclear cruise missile, a nuclear-armed drone submarine, and hypersonic strike missiles.
“While the United States maintains a global military superiority over Russia, evolving Russian capabilities threaten to erode our competitive military advantage, challenge our ability to operate uncontested in all domains, and diminish our ability to deter Russian aggression,” he said.
Russian naval forces, both warships and submarines, are expanding and Scaparrotti urged modernizing American naval forces in response.