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Fact Sheet: Overview of NATO and Bilateral Reassurance Measures in Romania

May 21, 2014

As a result of Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory, the United States has taken several immediate steps to demonstrate our continued commitment to Article 5 collective defense and reassure our NATO allies, including Romania, who are closest to the crisis. The United States and NATO are committed to maintaining an augmented, persistent forward presence in Central and Eastern Europe through at least the end of 2014.

New U.S. Measures:

•    Maritime Deployments to the Black Sea: In early April, the United States deployed the USS Donald Cook to the Black Sea where the Cook conducted operations to improve interoperability, increase readiness, and develop professional relationships with Allies. The Cook conducted presence operations and a port visit in Constanta, Romania, as well as a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Romanian Navy.

•    In late April, the USS Taylor, a frigate and our contribution to the Standing NATO Maritime Group, was deployed to the Black Sea where Taylor conducted bilateral operations with Romania and Georgia, including port visits to both countries.

•    The USS Vella Gulf will soon enter the Black Sea to conduct port visits and combined maritime training with Allied naval forces.

•    Air-to-Air Refueling Missions: Since mid-March, the United States has been flying refueling missions in support of NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) flights over Poland and Romania.

•    NATO Response Force (NRF): The Department of Defense is exploring options for increasing the readiness of its U.S.-based, NRF-committed Brigade Combat Team.

Enhancements to Previously Planned U.S. Operations:

•    USS Truxtun: The USS Truxtun entered the Black Sea through the Turkish Straits on March 7 to conduct a port call in Constanta, Romania and a PASSEX with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces. Truxtun extended its stay in the Black Sea until March 21 to conduct a port visit in Varna, Bulgaria, hold an onboard maritime planning conference with Bulgarian and Romanian officers, and conduct a second PASSEX.

U.S. Ongoing/Steady State Measures:

•    There are approximately 1,000 U.S. troops in Romania, including Marines, sailors, airmen and soldiers.

o Black Sea Rotational Forces (BSRF): This force, based out of Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) Air Base, Romania, includes 250 Marines and sailors tasked with maintaining positive relations with partner nations; enhancing regional stability; and increasing interoperability while providing the capability for rapid crisis response in the Black Sea, Balkan, and Caucasus regions. In May, BSRF personnel are participating in exercise PLATINUM LYNX; infantry field training with the Romanian military to enhance familiarity and interoperability between U.S. and Romanian forces.

o Nearly 500 of these U.S. troops are permanently stationed at MK Air Base conducting transit center operations.

o 175 U.S. Marines will be temporarily based out of MK Air Base as part of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF). The SPMAGTF is postured to respond to a broad range of military operations in the EUCOM/AFRICOM region, including: fixed-site security, non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, theater security cooperation, and other missions as directed.

o Currently, more than 80 U.S. Airmen are currently participating in Exercise Carpathian Spring in Romania. The exercise runs from April 12th to 21st and is designed for aircrew to receive upgrade training and build partnership capacity with the Romanians.

•    European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA): The United States' contribution to European missile defense includes plans for four Aegis destroyers to be home ported in Rota, Spain (USS Cook recently arrived) and two planned Aegis Ashore sites; one in Romania (2015) and one Poland (2018). The Romania Aegis Ashore site is critical to NATO missile defense and is the fundamental infrastructure for Phase 2 of the EPAA. It will consist of a radar with 360-degree coverage, vertical launch tubes with SM-3 Block IB missile defense interceptors, and the associated command and control systems to integrate the radar and the interceptors. The interceptors could be launched from the site in Romania to defend NATO in the case of a missile attack from the Middle East. The groundbreaking at the Romania site was completed in 2013, and the site is firmly on budget and on schedule to be operational by the end of 2015.

•    U.S. Force Presence in Europe: There are approximately 67,000 service members in Europe. Approximately 57,000 active duty service members are assigned to U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and approximately 10,000 support other organizations, such as U.S. Africa Command.

•    NATO Response Force (NRF) Commitment: The United States previously pledged several thousand service members to the NATO Response Force including a brigade combat team from the Texas-based 1st Cavalry Division, a hospital ship, air-to-air refueling tankers, and escort ships.

•    Army Rotational Forces: The United States will send a battalion-sized unit from the United States to Europe twice a year for up to two months per rotation. In May, the unit will participate in a USEUCOM-hosted multinational exercise, COMBINED RESOLVE II. The exercise, which includes Romanian participation, will take place in Germany.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: Overview of NATO and Bilateral Reassurance Measures in Romania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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