US Army Europe commander pushes for Military Schengen Zone

The outgoing commander of the United States Army in Europe (USAREUR) Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges suggested creating a military Schengen zone to make joint exercises of Allied forces in Europe, as well as deployment on short notice, more effective, according to a Defense News report from 30 July.

Hodges and other experts consider the current reaction times to mobilize and move NATO forces in the case of emergency insufficient. Although reaction times shortened, as could be observed during the recent Sabre Guardian exercise taking place between 11 and 20 July in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary with the participation of more than 25,000 troops, there is still room for improvement, for example on the hours-long border delays. Still, during the exercise, armoured brigades equipped with Abrams tanks and Paladin howitzers could move and deploy quicker than before. Hodges also informed that leading NATO representatives realize the importance of short reaction times, with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also recently exploring this topic. However, the idea of creating a military Schengen is still very ambitious and would require dramatic legislative changes in European states. Yet, the fact remains that the importance of short times of troop deployment and movement is without any doubt crucial and can be decisive during a real conflict.

About author: Redakce ESJ


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