Updated: US European Command may ‘take another look’ at closing RAF Mildenhall

Six KC-135 Stratotankers of the 100th Air Refuelling Wing move on the taxiway at RAF Mildenhall.
(Photo USAF  Staff Sergeant Jeanette Copeland)
Six KC-135 Stratotankers of the 100th Air Refuelling Wing move on the taxiway at RAF Mildenhall. (Photo USAF Staff Sergeant Jeanette Copeland)

The US European Command (EUCOM) is reported to be taking another look at the idea of closing 15 bases, including RAF Mildenhall.

The US military’s official newspaper Stars & Stripes reported yesterday that Eucom was taking a second look because of a more volatile security environment in Europe.

US European Command Commander, Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, (US Army Photo by Martin Greeson)

US European Command Commander, Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, (US Army Photo by Martin Greeson)

It told Stars & Stripes: “Considering the current European security environment, it is a prudent measure to review some of the decisions under the January 2015 European Infrastructure Consolidation effort,

“These closures were programmed over a number of fiscal years and to date, none of these sites have been returned to the host nation, as we are putting the necessary infrastructure in place to facilitate mission and personnel moves necessary,”

The aim of the closures was to save £500 million and retaining any of the bases would require Pentagon backing. Mildenhall is not due to close until 2023.

In a Eucom 2017 ‘Posture Statement’ to the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, its commander General Curtis Scaparrotti said: “Today we face the most dynamic European security environment in history. Political volatility and economic uncertainty are compounded by threats to our security system that are trans-regional, multi-domain, and multi-functional.”

RAF MIldenhall
Copyright:  Googleearth, DigitalGlobe, Getmapping plc, Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky

RAF MIldenhall Copyright: Googleearth, DigitalGlobe, Getmapping plc, Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky

He wants to increase land forces in Europe.

He also told congress that some of the 15 facilities listed for closure were worth ‘another look, given the dynamics of the day, because we’ve got to get our posture right’.

A Forest Heath District Council spokesman said: “We will be seeking clarification from the Ministry of Defence and their US counterparts about this latest story.

“It would be wrong to speculate at this point but, whatever the future holds for the bases, USAF will play a key role in our community and we will continue to represent the local perspective in discussions with partners.”