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US Army Europe and US Army Africa to merge as commander pins on fourth star

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US Army Europe and US Army Africa to merge as commander pins on fourth starUS Army Europe and US Army Africa to merge as commander pins on fourth star

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army Europe Commander now-Gen. Christopher Cavoli received his fourth star as the service plans to merge the command with U.S. Army Africa, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told Defense News in an Oct. 8 interview.

“Gen. Cavoli was promoted yesterday to his fourth star,” McCarthy said. “I’m very excited for him and his family, he’s a very talented officer.”

Cavoli was nominated earlier this year to receive a fourth-star and and the Senate confirmed the nomination on Sept. 30. He has served as U.S. Army Europe commander since January 2018.

The Army believes elevating U.S Army Europe to a four-star command is “necessary,” he added. “That’s why we advocated and pushed hard and got that done because, in his capacity, as U.S. Army Europe commander he is the Joint Force Land Component Commander and, in that capacity, if war breaks out on the continent, this is the officer leading all of those NATO elements under that umbrella.”

The only other Army component command with a four-star billet is U.S. Army Pacific, which received that fourth star in 2013 when Gen. Vincent Brooks took command.

In conjunction with elevating the command to a four-star billet, the Army “is merging” Army Europe and Army Africa “and that’s largely administrative. It’s a merger of two entities, so you look at where do you find synergies and where do you find redundancies and you make those adjustments accordingly. It’s a tremendous responsibility for Gen. Cavoli but he’s clearly up to it,” McCarthy said.

Army Europe’s headquarters are in Wiesbaden, Germany, and Army Africa is based in Vincenza, Italy. McCarthy did not say whether that meant a consolidation of physical headquarters but when asked if the physical headquarter in Germany would remain he said he believed that would be the case.

It is also unclear what will happen with the leadership of U.S. Army Africa. Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling assumed command in July. He previously served as the U.S. Army Europe deputy commanding general.

“Restoring the commanding general of US Army Europe to the rank of general, with four stars, is an important signal to our allies of American commitment and how important Europe is in our strategic thinking,” Ret. Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former US Army Europe commander, told Defense News Oct. 8.

“It is therefore also a clear signal to the Kremlin of our resolve,” he added.

“Fortunately, the Army has the right officer … to assume that new rank,” Hodges said. “He is a strategic thinker, a decisive leader and a committed TransAtlanticist who values our allies and partners.”

The consolidation comes at a time when the Administration has announced it wants to move 12,000 troops out of Germany. Details are few and far between on what would move out and when.

Another push from the Administration looks to consolidate U.S. European Command and Africa Command, but the House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said yesterday at an American Security Project virtual event that it won’t happen.

Both the Air Force and Navy have combined Europe and Africa component commands.

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