CINCU, Romania — Some major improvements are underway at the Joint National Training Center in Romania that are designed to ultimately strengthen capability across NATO forces, and it's being made possible largely by U.S. funding through the European Reassurance Initiative.
Roughly $23 million in funding — provided through the account designed to bolster initiatives to reassure European allies and deter an aggressive and unpredictable Russia — is going toward the construction of a massive nonstandard live-fire range for tanks, a sniper range, a light demolition range and ammunition storage among a few other infrastructure efforts.
"The purpose of ERI was to improve training capabilities and capacity throughout Eastern Europe, which would help improve our readiness, but also for our allies, and so this is exactly what I think they had in mind. And the Congress, of course, has been generous sustaining ERI, and this is what you get," U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told Defense News on Friday as he toured the range under construction.
The U.S. Army is working to ensure countries along the Eastern flank of Europe are ready for anything and are prepared to fight alongside NATO and the U.S., so helping to strengthen training facilities in Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Romania are underway, Hodges said.