U.S. general backs Germany to host new NATO operations command

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is best suited to host a new NATO military logistics command, the top U.S. Army general in Europe said on Tuesday.

NATO allies this month backed plans for two new military headquarters - an Atlantic command and a logistics command - to help protect Europe in the event of a future conflict.

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges told the Berlin Security Conference that Germany - already host to many U.S. troops - was well-placed to take on the logistics role given its geographical location in the heart of Europe, and its existing capabilities.

“I can’t imagine any other country being better suited than Germany to take on that responsibility, from a geographical standpoint, a capability standpoint,” Hodges said.

Diplomats have said that Germany is eager to host the logistics command but no decisions have been made.

Hodges, who is due to retire next month, has repeatedly pushed for increased focus on improving the ability to move troops and equipment across Europe in the event of a future conflict.

NATO began beefing up its defenses after the 2014 annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, deploying troops to the Baltic states and Poland, strengthening its presence in the Black Sea and starting to modernizing its forces.

The Kremlin, which denies harboring any aggressive intentions toward Europe, has condemned the moves as an attempt to encircle Russia.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alison Williams