The following is the June 16, Congressional Research Service In Focus report The European Deterrence Initiative: A Budgetary Overview.
From the report
The European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) is a Department of Defense (DOD) effort to “enhance the U.S. deterrence posture, increase the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe, support the collective defense and security of NATO allies, and bolster the security and capacity of U.S. allies and partners,” according to the DOD European Deterrence Initiative Fact Sheet.
EDI began as the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) in June 2014. The Obama Administration launched it primarily as an effort to reassure U.S. allies in Europe of a continued U.S. commitment to their security in the wake of Russia’s 2014 invasion and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and instigation of conflict in eastern Ukraine. As tensions with Russia mounted, the focus of the program broadened from reassuring allies to deterring Russian aggression. DOD began referring to the program as EDI in 2018.
Today, EDI is a key funding source for U.S. European Command’s (EUCOM) posture adjustments in response to the evolving European security environment. EDI has enabled the first increase in U.S. military forces in Europe since the end of the Cold War. This includes the rotational deployment of an Armored Brigade Combat Team (BCT), mostly in Central and Eastern Europe. Two BCTs, one Stryker-equipped and one airborne infantry, are permanently stationed in Europe—in Germany and Italy, respectively. A prominent objective of EDI has been to enable rapid military mobilization to Central and Eastern Europe in order to respond quickly to military aggression in the region.
EDI began in FY2015 with $985 million in funding. Between FY2016 and FY2019, Congress authorized significant annual increases in EDI funding as requested. Funding for the effort peaked at $6.5 billion in FY2019 and was $5.91 billion in FY2020.
Some Members of Congress have raised questions about reduced funding levels requested by the Administration for FY2021. Press reports in June 2020 stated that the Administration is considering withdrawing 9,500 of the approximately 35,000 U.S. troops stationed in Germany have heightened concerns in Congress about the Administration’s commitment to EDI and to European security more broadly. Other congressional voices have urged European allies to increase military investments to augment EDI and related NATO deterrence efforts.
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