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Stavridis: Don't Discount Europe: Although the US military presence in Europe is coming down, US European Command remains focused on building and maintaining European partnerships, said EUCOM Commander Adm. James Stavridis. "Although we see great strategic challenge[s] in the Pacific and in the Middle East, I think we will continue to need these strategic partnerships that we have developed over decades in Europe," he testified before the House Armed Services Committee last week. NATO will continue "to be of great importance to us," said Stavridis. And, Europe is the is the "nexus point" between the United States and its operations in Africa and Southwest and Central Asia, he said. Stavridis noted that the United States has reduced its presence in Europe by roughly 75 percent since the height of the Cold War, dropping from almost 400,000 military and civilian personnel back then to fewer than 100,000 today. (Stavridis' written testimony)