In historic first, German Army general appointed USAREUR chief of staff
Stars and Stripes
Published: August 1, 2014
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — For the first time since U.S. troops arrived in Europe during World War II, a German general has been appointed to serve as the next chief of staff of U.S. Army-Europe, the military said.
Brig. Gen. Markus Laubenthal will synchronize the activities of the USAREUR staff in much the same manner as his American predecessors have done, a U.S. Army statement said. Laubenthal, who is receiving initial briefings from the USAREUR staff, is expected to take up his post on or about Aug. 4, it said.
“This is a bold and major step forward in USAREUR’s commitment to operating in a multinational environment with our German allies,” said Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr., USAREUR’ commanding officer. “U.S. and German senior military leaders have been serving together in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan for years. Sustaining the shared capability from this experience will benefit both U.S. and German armies.”
Laubenthal, who currently commands the Bundeswehr’s 12th Armored Brigade in Amberg, served as chief of staff for ISAF Regional Command North in Afghanistan. Among other command and staff assignments in Germany, he also served as military assistant to the deputy commander of operations and assistant chief of staff for operations for NATO’s Kosovo force.
“As the commander of Panzerbrigade 12 ... I have always valued the joint exercises with our partnership unit, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck.” Laubenthal said, according to the Army’s statement. “I am sure that I can use the experience I gained in the German Army supporting the training of ready army forces, in my new position with USAREUR,”
Laubenthal’s formal appointment ceremony will be held later this month.
A German army spokesman called the move “a clear sign for a good German-American cooperation.“
That cooperation had been strained since last year’s reports of the U.S. National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of German citizens, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal communications. Last month, German authorities expelled the CIA’s chief in Berlin after investigators identified two suspected spies allegedly working for the U.S. within the German government.