Friday, February 17, 2012

DTN News - PAKISTAN TODAY: Analysis ~ On Trial - Yousuf Raza Gilani

Defense News: DTN News - PAKISTAN TODAY: Analysis ~ On Trial - Yousuf Raza Gilani
*DTN News presents an article "On Trial" analyzed by Asad Jamal and Muhammad Badar Alam 
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Asad Jamal and Muhammad Badar Alam - Herald - Dawn Pakistan
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: Yousuf Raza Gilani is creating history of sorts: With just one month to go before he completes his fourth year in office, he is already the longest serving prime minister of Pakistan. With a mix of luck, guile, compromise, concessions and even confrontation, he would expect to pull off another historical feat — of surviving his full constitutional term in office.
His chances of success appear to be slim. When the opposition took the memo issue to the Supreme Court late last year and the army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha supported a judicial probe into the affair, everyone thought time was up for Gilani and his government as well as President Asif Ali Zardari. When Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry appointed a high-powered judicial commission to probe the memo case, and followed it up with a string of contempt of court notices to senior government functionaries, including Gilani, the end was deemed nigh.

Many thought that the prime minister and other members of his ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were making a bad situation worse by indulging in a war of words with the military. From his December 2011 speech in the National Assembly, warning that he will not allow a state within a state to exist, to his statement to the Chinese media that Kayani and Pasha acted illegally and unconstitutionally by contradicting the government version of the memo in front of the Supreme Court, Gilani was either bluffing or calling the other side’s bluff. In any case, he was certainly living dangerously.

It all now appears to have receded behind closed doors. Gilani has retracted his belligerent statements against the military and intelligence chiefs, of course, after claiming the not-so-prized scalp of the defence secretary as a face-saving measure. The memo probe appears destined for the long haul and contempt and corruption cases are subject to procedural adjournments and legal hair-splitting among the lawyers and the judges. From being on the brink only days ago, Gilani looks like he is back in charge — for the time being at least.

But this could well be a temporary respite, not a permanent reprieve, for none of the factors nagging and troubling the government have gone away and many, if not most, of them are for the courts to take care of one way or the other.

Seeds of distrust

Even before the PPP came to power in February 2008, it had reason to feel threatened by the superior judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. When General (retd) Pervez Musharraf sacked him a second time on November 3, 2007, Chaudhry had already drawn first blood vis-à-vis the PPP. On October 12, 2007, he admitted petitions challenging the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and, in an extraordinary order, immediately suspended the actions being taken under the ordinance without first deciding whether it was legal or otherwise. It was extraordinary in the sense that normally courts do not question the effects or benefits derived from a law while it is still being debated in the courts, says Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood, a senior jurist and a senior leader of the movement for the restoration of Justice Chaudhry.

It was only days after February 2008 polls when the Musharraf-appointed Supreme Court under Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar modified the order, allowing the NRO to end thousands of cases related to alleged corruption and other crimes. For the PPP, the ordinance was critically important as it had allowed its senior leadership, including Benazir Bhutto, to return from exile in October 2007 and participate in the political process. Stung by his previous decision on the NRO, the party led by Zardari post-election resisted the restoration of Chaudhry as much as it possibly could after coming to power. It feared that the Supreme Court under him would revive cases against the senior PPP leaders, thereby putting its nascent government in trouble.

Months before he became the president of Pakistan, Zardari started reneging on his political commitment with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) on the restoration of the judges sacked by Musharraf, more specifically Chaudhry. The government also did not want to sideline  Dogar, in return for his pro-NRO judgement. It was not until the lawyers and the opposition parties took to the streets Punjab and Dogar’s tenure came to an end in March 2009, that the government restored the chief justice, reportedly under pressure from the military establishment.

The damage had been done by then. Constitutional lawyer Salman Akram Raja believes the government spent too much political capital resisting the restoration. “Immediate restoration of judges was a golden opportunity for the PPP government to win huge political goodwill, which it lost wholly unnecessarily,” he says.

During the second phase of the NRO case in December 2009, Chaudhry struck down the NRO as void ab initio, ie illegal and unconstitutional from the moment it was promulgated, thereby immediately reversing and annulling any benefits it had ever accrued to anyone. The court also ordered the revival of cases against the PPP leadership in and outside Pakistan, most notably in Switzerland. For the party and the government, this was a frontal assault.

Earlier the same year, the Supreme Court decided constitutional petitions by the Sindh High Court Bar Association and others over the appointment of judges under the Musharraf’s emergency rule as well as the PPP government before March 2009 and sent home more than 100 judges. Many of them were considered sympathetic to PPP. The court has not looked back ever since. One case after the other involving corruption allegations against PPP members and leaders and senior functionaries of the government have come up before the apex court, invariably eliciting angry remarks by the judges, getting  negative media coverage and discrediting the government practically on a daily basis.

The government’s strategy during the NRO case, as well as in some other cases, has mainly been to deal with them more in a political manner and less through legal means; an approach which has had mixed consequences. If the strategy was to gain time, it could be argued that the government was successful. But it did cost it heavily in terms of loss of credibility. Hounded by the media over its reluctance to restore the judges and troubled by the Supreme Court judgement in the Sindh High Court Bar Association case, says Mehmood, the government “lost all its senses”. It continued “making one mistake after the other, especially in the NRO proceedings. So much so, it did not even argue anything in its review proceedings.” Even pro-government lawyers believe the NRO case could have been pleaded more vigorously on the legal front, possibly leading to a less harsh verdict.

Baggage of history

For those on the government’s side, the judiciary is playing its historical pro-establishment role in giving anti-PPP decisions, the most flawed among them being what many call Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s judicial murder. At one level, the present altercation remains between the two highest offices – the presidency and the chief justice – and could be interpreted in the historical context of an anti-PPP bias among the superior judiciary.

Zardari told an interviewer recently that a former PPP minister was imprisoned in the Hajj corruption case and the courts were not accepting his bail pleas even when there was no proof against him. Over the last two years, he has been demanding that the superior judiciary revisit the Bhutto trial as expeditiously as it is taking up cases with visible anti-PPP quotient.

Dr Osama Siddique, associated with the department of law and policy at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums), says three historical trends concerning the superior judiciary continue to have resonance in the present context. “One, the judiciary has had an invasive and power-accumulation propensity that is also characterised by illusions of self- grandeur; two, it is historically anti-PPP and favours pro-establishment parties which was poignantly displayed in the 1990s; and, three, it has repeatedly evinced a vulnerability to direct and indirect pressures from the army.”

Resistance versus activism

For a majority of hard-core pro-judiciary types, the roots of the judiciary-government stand-off lie in the PPP’s defiance of judicial authority and its inability to ensure good governance. They cite media reports on rampant corruption within the government to show that President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, federal and provincial ministers and leaders and members of the PPP are hostile towards the judiciary because it is providing the lone institutional check against their real or perceived wrongdoings.

Some in the PPP, however, say the hype around corruption in the courts and the media is hampering the government from taking important economy-related decisions such as the import of liquefied natural gas (See Qamar Zaman Kaira’s interview). But this hardly justifies controversial appointments that the government had made over the last four years (mainly in Oil and Gas Development Company Limited, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority and the Federal Investigation Agency). Certainly, many of them were avoidable.

From the judiciary’s perspective, the only way to improve governance and curb corruption is to expand judicial activism. Raja believes the Supreme Court’s expanding role must be seen in the context of the government’s credibility having been lost completely due both to its ineffective governance as well as corruption. He cites the government’s attempts to stall investigation into corruption cases around Hajj, National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) and rental power plants and argues that “in effect there exists not a single independent investigative agency in the country that will be allowed to do its work.” For him, “it is in that context that the Supreme Court’s readiness to assume [activist] jurisdiction has to be seen.”

But such expansionist judicial role has led to some unprecedented developments. When, as part of the 18th constitutional Amendment, the parliament changed the procedure for the judges’ appointment, the Supreme Court immediately struck back, forcing the legislature to enact another constitutional amendment along the lines it prescribed. In subsequent judgements, the court has all but eliminated the role of the parliamentary committee on judicial appointments subjecting its decisions to judicial challenge and review.

Last month, the court went even further in expanding its role far into the executive domain. On a petition filed by advocate Fazal Kareem Butt, who sought an assurance from the federal government that it will not remove Kayani and Pasha, the court told the Attorney General to submit in writing an assurance from the federal government that it has no such plan.

Lawyer Faisal Siddiqi argues that this expansionism is neither new nor Pakistan-specific. “Judicial activism of the Supreme Court is nothing peculiar to Pakistan. It has happened in many countries during transition from military dominance to greater democracy,” he says. “When the security establishment struggles to retain power and elected government tries to reclaim its lawful domain, it is in such times that judiciaries often expand their role.”

Others do not take such a benign view. Maryam Khan, an assistant professor of law at Lums, says “The judiciary has always exhibited a tendency to assert an exaggerated constitutional domain for itself and attempts to enhance it through its own pronouncements whenever the army goes in the background and a controlled democratic system is restored.” According to her, the court-centered development of the “public interest litigation” movement in the immediate post-Zia era of the late 1980s and early 1990s is an example of the judiciary’s strategic self-legitimation not only to assert an exaggerated constitutional domain for itself but also to reinvent its image as the custodian of constitutional and democratic values. “ … the judiciary has effectively evolved into an institution autonomous of, ascendant to, as well as deeply contemptuous and dismissive of, the political process,” she says.

Writing in the Economic and Political Weekly as early as 2009, Karachi-based political economist Haris Gazdar was even more scathing in his criticism of the judiciary and its main supporters, the lawyers. He argued that the constitutionalist pretensions of judges and lawyers were belied by their actions. “There is a pattern: media fuelled populism, encroachment upon the authority of the parliament and the executive, helping political allies, and keeping mum where core interests of the military might be involved. From a broadly-supported popular struggle against the Musharraf regime, the lawyers’ movement has morphed into a self-serving power grab,” he wrote.

Many others agree that such an expansion takes place at the expense of civilian governments and to the advantage of the military and security establishment. Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir has publicly accused the Supreme Court of working “under influence of the security establishment” in the memo case. Those who support her point of view cite many long-pending cases, including those involving violence in Balochistan and missing persons, in which the apex court has never gone beyond summoning senior intelligence officials. Talking about the memo case, for instance, Sidiqqi says “unlike in the past when the army asked for legitimacy from the court, in the memo case the army is not asking for validation of its unconstitutional acts.” What it is doing, and seemingly achieving is even more troubling. “It has instead sought to increase its de facto power as opposed to its de jure power by using the judicial process.” As and when that power gets validated through a Supreme Court judgement, the army will be placed way above the democratic and parliamentary process. This in turn will put elected governments at the mercy of a security establishment controlling everything from behind the scenes, and without having to worry about law and Constitution.

(Asad Jamal is a lawyer.)

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Asad Jamal and Muhammad Badar Alam - Herald - Dawn Pakistan
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 17, 2012

Defense News: DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 17, 2012
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued  February  17, 2012 are undermentioned;


            Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Ill., is being awarded a $333,659,831 firm-fixed-price contract for an undefinitized contract action for the procurement of calendar year 2011 and calendar year 2012 large aircraft infared countermeasures hardware and associated support.  The location of the performances is Rolling Meadows, Ill.  Work is expected to be completed by Feb. 10, 2012.  Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-12-C-6598).

            Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors, Syracuse, N.Y., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $45,566,659 cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract for Shipboard Mine Neutralization System-SeaFox (SMNS-SF) integration, testing and production; operational AN/SQQ-32 Airborne Mine Neutralization System-SeaFox (AMNS-SF) refurbishment and overhaul; and Atlas SeaFox neutralizer rounds delivery.  Work will be performed in Bremen, Germany (43 percent); Syracuse, N.Y. (24 percent); Virginia Beach, Va. (15 percent); Corpus Christi, Texas (14 percent); and Cincinnati, Ohio (4 percent).  Work is expected to completed by March 2013.  Contract was not competitively procured as Lockheed Martin is the sole designer, developer, and producer of the SMNS-SF and AMNS-SF systems, and is only source capable of upgrading and integrating systems with the Atlas SeaFox neutralizer onto the host platforms in the time required to meet urgent operational need.  Contract funds in the amount of $15,125,355 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-12-C-6306).

            The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $22,034,514 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-11-G-0001) for supplies and services to support follow-on test and evaluation of the F/A-18 E/F and EA-18G aircraft.  Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. (77 percent); St. Louis, Mo. (21 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (1 percent); and Bethpage, N.Y. (1 percent).  Work is expected to be completed in February 2013.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

            Neany, Inc.*, Hollywood, Md., is being awarded a $12,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide continuing operator support services for Persistent Ground Surveillance System.  Work will be performed in various forward operating bases located in Afghanistan (90 percent), and predeployment training in Yuma, Ariz. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2012.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-2.  The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-12-C-0145).

            Neany, Inc.*, Hollywood, Md., is being awarded a $12,000,000 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N68335-11-C-0261) to provide training of Persistent Ground Surveillance System (PGSS) operators and deployment and logistics services in support of PGSS phase.  Work will be performed in various forward deployed operating bases located in Afghanistan (90 percent), and in Yuma, Ariz. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2012.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity.

            Adams Communication & Engineering Technology, Inc., Waldorf, Md., is being awarded a $10,774,091 firm-fixed-price contract to provide continuing operator support services for Persistent Ground Surveillance System.  Work will be performed in various forward operating bases located in Afghanistan (90 percent), and predeployment training in Yuma, Ariz. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2012.  Contract funds in the amount of $10,774,091 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-2.  The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-12-C-0152).

           The Boeing Co., Saint Louis, Mo., was awarded firm-fixed-price, long-term, sole-source contract with a maximum $30,050,000 for F/A-18 inner wing assemblies.  There are no other locations of performance.  Using service is Navy.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2012 Navy Working Capital Funds.  The date of performance completion is February 2014.  The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SP0400-03-D-9408 TH04).

*Small business

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources U.S. DoD issued No. 118-12 February 17, 2012
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*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - INDONESIA DEFENSE NEWS: Airbus Military Signs Contract With Indonesia For Nine C295 Aircraft

Defense News: DTN News - INDONESIA DEFENSE NEWS: Airbus Military Signs Contract With Indonesia For Nine C295 Aircraft
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Airbus Military
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: Airbus Military has signed Wednesday, February 15, 2012 a firm contract with PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) to supply nine C295 military transport aircraft for delivery to the Indonesian Ministry of Defense. The contract between PT DI and the Ministry of Defense of Indonesia was signed simultaneously, witnessed by Minister of Defense, Prof. Dr. Purnomo Yusgiantoro, and the Chief of Armed Forces, Admiral Agus Suhartono, at a ceremony at the Singapore Airshow. The Indonesian designation of the aircraft will be CN295.
The aircraft will be operated by the Indonesian Air Force throughout the vast territory of Indonesia, which includes around 17.000 islands. The aircraft will perform a variety of roles including military, logistical, humanitarian and medical evacuation missions. The first delivery is foreseen in 2012 and by summer 2014 all aircraft will have been delivered. 

Additionally, the industrial plan covers a substantial collaboration between PT DI and Airbus Military for the C295 programme, including the manufacturing of the tail empennage, rear fuselage and fuselage panels, as well as workpackages for the development of Computer Based Training systems and the creation of a service and delivery centre and a final assembly line (FAL) in Indonesia. 

“This is a proud moment for our country as well as for the Indonesian aerospace industry. The C295 provides the ideal capacity to respond to Indonesia´s current and future military and humanitarian transport needs and does so very cost-efficiently, with full participation of the Indonesian aerospace industry, creating high skilled jobs and technology transfer,” said His Excellency Prof. Dr. Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Minister of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia.  

“This contract builds on the long and excellent partnership that exists between Airbus Military and the Indonesian aerospace industry. It will provide our country with the right capability for the years to come and allows PT DI to grow its aerospace business as a tier 1 supplier. This will position PTDI on the global aerospace scene and allow us to enhance our skills and workforce,” said Dr. Budi Santoso, President and CEO of PT DI. 

“Airbus Military is honored that the Indonesian Ministry of Defense has chosen the C295 for its fleet and we look forward to continue our successful partnership with PT DI. We will ensure that we live up to this mark of confidence, which demonstrates the value that the C295 provides to the armed forces around the world”, said Domingo Urena-Raso, President and CEO of Airbus Military.

Over 85 C295s are in service today with 14 different operators. 

About the C295

The new generation C295 is the ideal aircraft for defence and civic missions to the benefit of society, such as humanitarian actions, maritime patrol, and environmental surveillance missions, among others. Thanks to its robustness and reliability, and with simple systems, this medium sized tactical airlifter provides wide versatility and flexibility, necessary for personnel, troop and bulky/palletized cargo transportation, medical evacuation, communication and logistic duties or paratrooping.

The C295’s excellent versatility also allows it to be configured in special versions to perform specific missions with high efficiency such as gunship, ground surveillance, search and rescue, maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare, SIGINT or airborne early warning. Its mix of dual technology civil/military equipment ensures success in demanding tactical missions, growth potential for future equipment as well as compatibility with the latest civil airspace environment.

C295s in service today have accumulated more than 110,000 flying hours in the most demanding conditions, from extreme cold weather to hot desert areas. The C295 is part of Airbus Military’s family of light and medium airlifters which also includes the smaller C212 and CN235 aircraft. 

About Airbus Military

Airbus Military is the only military and civic/humanitarian transport aircraft manufacturer to develop, produce, sell and support a comprehensive family of airlifters ranging from three to 45 tonnes of payload. An Airbus daughter company, Airbus Military is responsible for the A400M programme, as well as the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A330 and for further military derivatives based on Airbus civil aircraft. Together with the smaller “Light & Medium” C295, CN235 and C212, Airbus Military is the global leader in the market for military transport, tanker and surveillance aircraft able to perform the most varied missions. Altogether, Airbus Military has sold more than 1,000 aircraft to some 130 military, civilian and governmental customers. More than 800 of these aircraft have been delivered. Airbus is an EADS company.

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Airbus Military
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*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Panetta Outlines U.S. Troop Changes In Europe

Defense News: DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Panetta Outlines U.S. Troop Changes In Europe
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Karen Parrish - American Forces Press Service
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta met with German Defense Minister Thomas De Maizière at the Pentagon today, as Defense Department officials announced details of planned changes in the U.S. military presence in Europe.
The Army will inactivate its Germany-based 170th and 172nd infantry brigades this year and in fiscal 2014, respectively, officials announced, as part of a change that will cut U.S. service members in Europe from about 80,000 now to about 70,000 in 2017.
"The minister understands the necessity of the shifts we are making as we work to implement our new defense strategy while meeting our fiscal responsibilities," Panetta said during a press briefing with his German counterpart.
The secretary said he and De Maizière had a productive meeting today, as they had earlier this month in both Brussels and Munich where both attended NATO defense meetings and the annual Munich Security Conference.
Panetta thanked De Maizière for his leadership both in NATO deliberations and in his nation's "very steadfast" support to the alliance-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
"Germany has been with us from the very beginning," the secretary said. "The German military plays a very important role as the lead for ISAF Regional Command North."
Germany is both a top troop contributor for ISAF and a top funding contributor for Afghan security force sustainment, he noted.
The German people have shown great commitment through a decade of war in Afghanistan, Panetta said. He offered his condolences to the families of the 50 German service members killed in combat there.
"Thousands of German troops are fighting courageously alongside U.S., coalition and Afghan forces," he said. "They've worked to establish security in Mazar-e Sharif and Herat, and they continue to keep the pressure on the enemy."
De Maizière took a lead role in bringing together fellow NATO defense ministers in reaffirming support for the Afghanistan commitments the nations' leaders made at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010, Panetta said.
"We have joined in the commitment of 'in together, out together' ... and I'm grateful for that, and I'm particularly grateful for his leadership in helping us achieve that common path," he said.
Turning to adjustments in European basing, the secretary noted some 40,000 U.S. troops will remain in Germany after the two heavy brigades depart. He added those forces will continue to train with partner nations' forces and maintain a high state of readiness for future international operations.
"I am very grateful, as are all American people, for the very warm hospitality U.S. troops and their families enjoy in Germany," he said. "Germany has been an incredible host."
Panetta noted along with forces stationed in Europe, the Defense Department is planning rotational troop training deployments to augment multinational training opportunities.
De Maizière, speaking through an interpreter, said he cannot object to the United States modernizing and reshaping its forces, as his own nation is making the same effort with its military.
Panetta has been "transparent from the very beginning" about the planned changes to U.S. forces in Europe, De Maizière noted, and added American troops, family members and civilians in remaining U.S. military organizations will "always be welcome in Germany."
The two heavy brigades the Army will inactivate in Germany have not been modernized, and disbanding them will save the Army money as it prepares to reduce its ranks by 70,000 soldiers, a senior defense official speaking on background told reporters today.
Other U.S. troop adjustments in Europe include the inactivation of 5th Corps Headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany; the move of U.S. Army Europe Headquarters from Heidelberg, Germany, to Wiesbaden; the inactivation of the Air Force's 81st Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany; and inactivation of the 603rd Air Control Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The Army will also relocate elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team from locations in Germany to the brigade's long-planned consolidated location in Vicenza, Italy.
Forces that will remain in Europe include the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment at Vilseck, Germany, and the 173rd at Vicenza. A senior defense official today called those modernized units two of the Army's "cutting-edge" troop formations.
De Maizière noted "high-value" U.S. units are remaining in Germany.
"I believe the impact [of the units leaving] will be moderate," he said. "Germany will remain the country where the bulk of U.S. troops will remain stationed, and this underscores that Germany is a strategically valuable ... location for our American friends."
Joseph Garvey, a senior U.S. Army Europe official, told American Forces Press Service USAREUR's commander, Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, has visited communities across Germany in recent weeks to address troop and family concerns about the pending moves.
Hertling assured Army families their leaders in Europe will do everything possible to limit upheaval for soldiers, family members and civilians, Garvey said.
The general also told troops and families leaders will work to ensure those affected by the moves are treated with dignity and respect as the Army in Europe works through this transition, Garvey added.

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Karen Parrish - American Forces Press Service
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News