15:17 GMT +319 July 2019
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    Ramstein Air Base, Germany

    Trump Nominates Tod Wolters to Lead US Forces in Europe - European Command

    © Photo: Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston, U.S. Air Force
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump nominated General Tod Wolters to be the next commander of the US forces in Europe, the European Command said in a statement.

    "The Acting Secretary of Defence [Patrick Shanahan] announced that the President has nominated US Air Force General Tod Wolters as the next Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander [of the] US European Command", the statement said on Friday.

    Wolters will succeed current commander General Curtis Scaparrotti, who has served in the position since 2016. The NATO agreed with the intended appointment, the European Command added. Wolters’ nomination now heads to the US Senate for confirmation. Wolters is currently leading Allied Air Command and US Air Forces in Europe, headquartered at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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    Ramstein is a US airbase in Rhineland-Palatinate state in southwestern Germany. In April 2015, media reports revealed that the base was a center of the US drone program, which uses unmanned aerial vehicles for air strikes in the Middle East and Africa.

    Ramstein Air Base is the largest US facility outside the United States' territory, reportedly comprising 15,000 servicemen and 30,000 civilians. The US drone program has triggered heated discussions across Germany, with many activists urging to stop it as drone strikes lead to mass casualties among civilians.

    The US drone program has been reportedly run through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since 2002, enabling a degree of secrecy. Many supporters of transparency in the drone program have argued that the authority to carry out strikes should be transferred from the CIA to the Department of Defence.

    READ MORE: Poland's Wish to Host US Base Shows Country 'Lives in Illusion' — EU MP

    Drone strikes are generally authorized to destroy high-value targets that are not subject to capture. According to estimates by human rights organizations, at least 2,500 civilians have been killed as a result of the US drone strikes.


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