Black Sea region not ready for more US troops despite eagerness to partner

F-16s and Patriot missile systems may not be enough to ward off Russia in the Black Sea region, but positioning more U.S. rotational troops at Soviet-era bases is years away, say defense experts.

Following President Trump’s June call to remove 12,000 U.S. soldiers from Germany, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said rotational troops would be added to Europe’s southeastern flank. In congressional testimony recently, the Pentagon’s policy guru James Anderson boasted Romania and Bulgaria as likely destinations.

“Both Bulgaria and Romania are relatively new to NATO, having joined in 2004 with other countries, but they made tremendous strides,” he said in a Sept. 30 House Armed Services Committee hearing.

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