Week of July 8, 2003
U.S. military forces that used a Romanian army base at Constanta province will be stationed at the base permanently in the fall.
According to the Bucharest newspaper the Evenimentul Zilei, the facility, known as Mihal Kogalniceanu, was used as a supply base during the Iraq war.
The report, quoting government sources, stated that the Pentagon has spent $20 million on the base.
The exact location of the Romanian base is being kept secret to avoid offending Russia, which opposes deployment of U.S. forces close to its territory. Additional U.S. forces are expected to be deployed in Bulgaria.
Romania will become a NATO member next year.
The bases in Eastern Europe are part of a new Pentagon strategy to place small groups of forces in areas around Europe. The current forces structure includes heavy armored units based mostly in Germany.
Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, the NATO commander, has called the new forces
structure a "lily pad" strategy of bases that can be used for rapid
deployment to trouble spots.