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Not Just a Cold War Relic: US European Command boss Adm. James Stavridis assured members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that America's European bases are much more than Cold War relics as some critics have suggested. "If I had one overriding message for the committee today, I'd like to answer the question, 'Why Europe?'" said Stavridis. He then listed five reasons why the mission in Europe remains vital for the Defense Department. First, Europeans share America's values, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. Second is economics. While the United States represents one-fourth of the world's gross domestic product, Europe represents another quarter, he said. Third, "geography matters," said Stavridis. The European bases allow the United States not only to support EUCOM, but also US Africa Command and US Central Command, he said. Fourth is the NATO alliance. "We serve together around the world in a wide variety of missions," said Stavridis. Fifth is the capability the European allies provide. "Nowhere else in the world will we find such a complete and capable group of allies who have the technology, the training, the force levels to help us," he said. (Stavridis' prepared statement)