For the first time in Norway, more than 200 US Air Force personnel from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, with an expeditionary B-1 Lancer bomber squadron, will arrive to support upcoming Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions out of Orland Air Base, Norway. The Airman will be a part of the advance team for scheduled missions in the coming weeks which will occur for a limited time. Training for the US Air Force personnel will include a variety of areas ranging from operating in the high north to improving interoperability with allies and partners across the European theatre.
"Operational readiness and our ability to support Allies and partners and respond with speed is critical to combined success," said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe and Africa commander. "We value the enduring partnership we have with Norway and look forward to future opportunities to bolster our collective defense."
In keeping with force health protection measures aligned with the Department of Defense, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Norwegian policy, all U.S. Air Force personnel will immediately practice a ten-day COVID-19 Restriction of Movement (ROM). All personnel were medically screened in Texas prior to arriving in Norway.
While details of specific missions or numbers of events are not discussed aspart of routine operational security standards, US Air Forces in Europe routinely host a variety of US aircraft and units across the theater insupport of USEUCOM objectives.
US European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for US military operationsacross Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and AtlanticOcean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 64,000 military and civilianpersonnel and works closely with NATO Allies and partners. The command isone of two US forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. For more information about USEUCOM, click here.
Radicalization in the EU: What is it? How can it be prevented?
Radicalization is a growing cross-border threat. But what is it, what are the causes and what is the EU doing to prevent it? Radicalization is not a new phenomenon, but it is increasingly a challenge, with new technologies and the growing polarisation of society making it a serious threat throughout the EU.
The terrorist attacks in Europe over the last few years, many of which were perpetrated by European citizens, highlight the persistent threat of homegrown radicalization, which is defined by the European Commission as the phenomenon of people embracing opinions, views and ideas, which could lead to acts of terrorism.
Ideology is an intrinsic part of the radicalisation process, with religious fundamentalism often at its heart.
However, radicalisation is rarely fuelled by ideology or religion alone. It often starts with individuals who are frustrated with their lives, society or the domestic and foreign policies of their governments. There is no single profile of someone who is likely to become involved in extremism, but people from marginalised communities and experiencing discrimination or loss of identity provide fertile ground for recruitment.
Western Europe’s involvement in conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Syria is also considered to have a radicalising effect, especially on migrant communities.
How and where do people become radicalized?
Radicalization processes draw on social networks for joining and staying connected. Physical and online networks provide spaces in which people can become radicalised and the more closed these spaces are, the more they can function as echo chambers where participants mutually affirm extreme beliefs without being challenged.
The internet is one of the primary channels for spreading extremist views and recruiting individuals. Social media have magnified the impact of both jihadist and far-right extremist propaganda by providing easy access to a wide target audience and giving terrorist organisations the possibility to use "narrowcasting" to target recruits or raise "troll armies" to support their propaganda. According to the 2020 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend report, over the last few years, encrypted messaging applications, such as WhatsApp or Telegram, have been widely used for co-ordination, attack planning and the preparation of campaigns.
Some extremist organisations have also been known to target schools, universities and places of worship, such as mosques.
Prisons can also be fertile ground for radicalization, due to the closed environment. Deprived of their social networks, inmates are more likely than elsewhere to explore new beliefs and associations and become radicalised, while understaffed prisons are often unable to pick up on extremist activities.
The EU’s fight to prevent radicalization
Although the main responsibility for addressing radicalization lies with the EU countries, tools have been developed to help at EU level:
- The Radicalization Awareness Network is a network of frontline practitioners from across Europe, such as teachers, policy officers and prison authorities, who work with people who have been or are vulnerable to radicalisation.
- Europol’s Internet Referral Unit scans the web for online terrorist material and refers it to host platforms. Since its creation in 2015, it has referred more than 130,000 pieces of content to internet companies (over 25,000 in 2019).
- In December 2020, the European Parliament endorsed the EU Security Union strategy 2020-2025 and the new Counter-Terrorism Agenda, which aims to prevent radicalisation by providing, for example, opportunities for young people at risk and supporting the rehabilitation of radicalized prisoners.
- At the end of 2020 Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on rules forcing online platforms to remove terrorist content within one hour. Endorsed by Parliament’s civil liberties committee, the agreement has to be formally approved by Parliament and the Council before entering into force.
Security Union: Stricter rules on explosive precursors will make it harder for terrorists to build homemade explosives
New EU rules restricting access to explosive precursors start applying throughout the EU. The rules contain stronger safeguards and controls on the sale and marketing of dangerous chemicals, which have been misused to produce homemade explosives in a number of terrorist attacks in Europe. Under the new rules, suspicious transactions - whether online or offline - should be reported, including by online marketplaces. Sellers have to verify their customers' identity and their need for buying a restricted substance.
Before issuing a licence for buying restricted substances, member states need to carry out security screening, including a criminal background check. The new rules also restrict two additional chemicals: sulphuric acid and ammonium nitrate. To assist member states and sellers implement the rules, the Commission presented Guidelines in June last year together with a monitoring programme intended to track the outputs, results and impact of the new Regulation. The Regulation strengthens and updates the existing rules on explosive precursors, and contributes to denying terrorists the means to act and protecting the security of Europeans, in line with the priorities set out in the Counter-Terrorism Agenda presented in December 2020.
Initial DOD COVID-19 vaccinations under way across USEUCOM region
The initial round of COVID-19 vaccinations are under way
for prioritized Department of Defense (DOD) personnel serving within the US European Command (USEUCOM) area of responsibility.
The DOD vaccination program began in Europe on 28 December when the Moderna
vaccine was administered to health-care workers serving at three US Army
medical treatment facilities located in Bavaria.
Three DOD medical facilities in the United Kingdom also began giving the
vaccine to patients this week. Additional DOD medical facilities in Germany
and the United Kingdom are scheduled to start inoculating personnel this
week. Next week, DOD clinics in Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal are
slated to receive their first shipment of the vaccine.
This initial phase of vaccine distribution within the USEUCOM region is an
important first step toward DOD's overall plan that encourages all personnel
to get vaccinated.
"Getting everybody immunized allows us to move back to, essentially, a sense
of normalcy in terms of how we interact with each other," said Brig. Gen.
Mark Thompson, Commanding General of Regional Health Command Europe.
Thompson said the initial phase will take about a month to complete because
of the 28-day time period between first dose and second dose of the Moderna
For more information, see USEUCOM's COVID-19 vaccine distribution webpage
US European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for US military operations
across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic
Ocean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 64,000 military and civilian
personnel and works closely with NATO Allies and partners. The command is
one of two US forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered
in Stuttgart, Germany. For more information about USEUCOM, click here.
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