The Jamestown Foundation is proud to present an online webinar event, “Making Sense of New U.S. Basing Decisions in Europe: A Conversation with Philip M. Breedlove and Ben Hodges” to take place on Tuesday, August 18, at 11:00 AM.
On July 29, the Pentagon announced that the United States would be pulling 12,000 troops out of Germany. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said that 5,600 of those troops will be repositioned to other parts of Europe, with the remaining number shifting to U.S. bases.
To discuss this momentous decision, Jamestown has gathered two of the most experienced experts on European security and the U.S. presence there: Lt. Gen. (ret.) Ben Hodges and Gen. (ret.) Philip. M. Breedlove.
Gen. (ret.) Philip M. Breedlove
Fmr. Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO Allied Command Operations
Distinguished Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Tech
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Ben Hodges
Fmr. Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe
Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies, CEPA
President, The Jamestown Foundation
Gen. (ret.) Philip M. Breedlove, is a proven strategic planner, motivational leader and talented communicator. He is a highly decorated retired general of the U.S. Air Force where he reached the highest levels of military leadership as one of six geographic combatant commanders and the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.
During 39 years of service, General Breedlove served in a variety of demanding command and staff positions, leading large-scale, diverse, global operations across two theaters of combat and earning a reputation as an inspirational leader focused on his people, their families and mission accomplishment. Leading a diverse political-military alliance, he was able to build consensus and form teams to accomplish complex tasks spanning multiple continents.
As the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the Commander of U.S. European Command, he answered directly to NATO’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, and to the President of the United States and Secretary of Defense. He led the most comprehensive and strategic structural and policy security changes in the alliance’s 70-year history. His diplomatic skills reassured allies, deterred potential aggressors and maintained alliance unity during the most dynamic and challenging period since its inception. He led the forces of 28 nations and multiple partners in ensuring the security of an alliance that accounts for more than half the world’s gross domestic product.
As Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, General Breedlove was responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces while ensuring theater air defense forces were ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense. This diverse portfolio included both theater and operational air and ballistic missile defense, areas where his operational designs remain in place today.
As Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, he presided over the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group during a period of intense challenge, including devising measures to meet the requirements of the Budget Control Act’s required $480 billion reduction of the Department of Defense budget. Accordingly, he led the organization, training and equipping of more than 690,000 people serving in the U.S. Air Force and provided oversight of its $120 billion annual budget.
As Assistant Chief of Staff for Air Operations, Plans and Requirements, General Breedlove directed all Air Force operations across the globe, oversaw strategic and operational planning, and set the requirements for all Air Force procurement. Additionally, he was one of two original authors of the Defense Department’s Air-Sea Battle Concept.
General Breedlove served in a variety of assignments leading up to those leadership positions, including commanding a squadron, a group, three fighter wings and a numbered Air Force in service across three different continents. His extensive command and control experience in wartime, contingency planning, and humanitarian relief actions include operations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
He earned his Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in aerospace technology from Arizona State University. Additionally, he completed a Masters of International Security Affairs from the National War College, a Fellowship in International Security Affairs, Seminar XXI from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed Leadership at the Peak at the Center for Creative Leadership, Colorado Springs.
General Breedlove currently serves on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board, as a Distinguished Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech, as a Senior Advisor to Culpeper National Security Solutions and on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council.
Lieutenant General (ret.) Ben Hodges holds the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis. He joined CEPA in February 2018.
A native of Quincy, Florida, General Hodges graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 1980 and was commissioned in the Infantry.
After his first assignment as an Infantry Lieutenant in Garlstedt, Germany, he commanded Infantry units at the Company, Battalion, and Brigade levels in the 101st Airborne Division, including Command of the First Brigade Combat Team “Bastogne” of the 101st Airborne Division in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (2003-2004). His other operational assignments include Chief of Operations for Multi-National Corps-Iraq in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (2005-2006) and Director of Operations, Regional Command South in Kandahar, Afghanistan (2009-2010).
General Hodges has also served in a variety of Joint and Army Staff positions to include Tactics Instructor; Chief of Plans, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; Aide-de-Camp to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps; Director of the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell on the Joint Staff; Chief of Legislative Liaison for the United States Army; and Commander, NATO Allied Land Command (İzmir, Turkey). His last military assignment was as Commanding General, United States Army Europe (Wiesbaden, Germany) from 2014 to 2017. He retired from the U.S. Army in January 2018.