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Last U.S. tanks leave Europe

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The news is quite startling: There are no longer any American tanks stationed in Europe. The story has been largely ignored by the major media. The information was provided in an article in the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. http://www.stripes.com/

According to the Department of Defense, at its peak, Germany, the main center of NATO activity during the first Cold War, was home to 20 U.S. armored divisions, with about 6,000 tanks. Despite the glaring revival of threats from Moscow, the United States no longer has any tanks, the pivotal weapon in land combat, stationed on the entire continent. The combined tank forces of all NATO nations on the European continent (including the United Kingdom and Turkey) does not come close to equaling Russian numbers.

Mr. Obama’s bizarre views on the lack of need for tanks became an issue in the 2012 campaign, when vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan criticized the President’s attempt to shut down the only American plant that produces them.

For those who believe that airpower can be used to deter the massive advantage Russia has in tanks, there is further bad news: Washington is seriously considering retiring the Air Force’s tank-killing fighter, the A-10 “Warthog.” According to Defense Secretary Hagel’s February statement, “The A-10's age is also making it much more difficult and costly to maintain. Significant savings are only possible through eliminating the entire fleet, because of the fixed cost of maintaining the support apparatus associated with that aircraft. Keeping a smaller number of A-10s would only delay the inevitable while forcing worse trade-offs elsewhere.”

There are no new weapons systems or innovative methods coming on line that will take over the tank’s front-line tasks. Indeed, even if there were, there are no funds available to fund them. Another armored development program, the Ground Combat vehicle, a multi-purpose platform, has been defunded.

According to current plans, by 2020, there will be only 30,000 American troops in Europe, approximately one-tenth of the maximum strength during the first Cold War. This spring, further cuts to the U.S. military infrastructure in Europe will be presented.

These actions take place in the face of massive new funding for the Russian military, as well as exceptionally aggressive behavior on the part of the Kremlin.

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