The former commander of the United States Army Europe both praised Romania as a valuable ally and called into question its readiness with regard to infrastructure — a long-standing problem of the country that also goes beyond military readiness.
At the conference entitled “Romanian Military Thinking” organized by the Romania High Command, Lt. Gen. (ret) Ben Hodges did praise Romania, pointing out that the country is not only a consumer, but also a provider of security in the region.
“Romania is not only a consumer, but also a supplier in terms of trained troops sent to theaters of operations, in terms of capabilities and also in terms of the fact that Romania is a platform for NATO in the Black Sea region,” he said.
In Hodges’ opinion, “Romania is the center of gravity for the USA in the region and is the center of gravity for NATO in the region.”
“There are three NATO countries in the Black Sea basin, along with three partners, in addition to our opponent, the Russian Federation. Romania is the place — due to its geography, but also due to the way it operates — the best from which the Alliance can exercise,” he said.
But, speaking in the context of possible military operations, there is also the need for adequate infrastructure.
“There are some aspects of mobility. One is infrastructure. Bridges — do you have bridges over many rivers in Romania, especially the Danube? Highways, tunnels that allow fast movement to and from Romania, when the allies must be deployed quickly. Does the infrastructure support such a thing?,” said Gen. Hodges.
Romania, together with Bulgaria, is part of U.S. Army Europe’s Black Sea Area Support Group set up in 2007, and the largest U.S. military presence is at the Romanian Air Force’s Mihail Kogălniceanu Airfield near the Black Sea port of Constanţa.
As Remix News reported earlier, the Romanian Defense Ministry recently launched the first 2.1 billion Romanian leu (€430 million) tender for the expansion of the Mihail Kogălniceanu air force base