Until recently, Brig. Gen. Markus Laubenthal served in the Bundeswehr, the German Army, commanding Panzerbrigade 12 (12th Armored Brigade) and serving as chief of staff for the International Security Assistance Force (isaf) Regional Command North in Afghanistan. Now he’s one of the top commanders in the United States Army in Europe.
Laubenthal has been appointed the chief of staff for the U.S. Army Europe (usareur), Germany’s defense ministry announced on July 31. This is one of the top offices in usareur, after the commanding general and deputy commanding general. It is the first time a non-American has held this position.
In the U.S. military, a “chief of staff” position is not a command role (except for at the very top). Laubenthal will coordinate staff to do what his commanding officer wants done. Nonetheless, this is an important job.
Wall Street Journal wrote that he would be “practically the right hand of the commanding general of the U.S. land forces in Europe, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr.” usareur is responsible for over 37,000 troops, 90 percent of which are stationed in GermanyThe German edition of the
“It’s a sign of the continuing, very deep cooperation with the Americans,” said Lt. Gen. Rainer Korff, commander of Germany’s multi-nation corps. “We didn’t even have this in the dark times of the Cold War.”
Former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr and former nato Military Committee Chairman Klaus Naumann told Deutschlandradio Kultur that the appointment is a “very large expression of trust.”
When asked if this would give “a German general real insight into American strategies,” Naumann explained that certain things would be marked “noforn”—an abbreviation meaning that no foreigners are allowed to see the document. “That’s a level of secrecy that is common in the United States,” he explained, adding that Laubenthal would not be allowed to “peek” at anything with that designation. However, he will have complete access to “operational concepts for these 37,000 U.S. troops in Europe.”
“He needs to coordinate and manage,” Naumann said.
Naumann explained that the German Army would “certainly benefit” from the new appointment. “For once we have an insight into what is thought in the armed forces of the United States,” he said.
Launbenthal is expected to have assumed his duties on August 4.
eucom), usareur is responsible for all American military activity in Europe—including any activity aimed at responding to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.Along with the U.S. European Command (
Laubenthal’s appointment puts a non-American—and a national of one of the region’s major foreign powers—at the heart of America’s military decision-making. Even though Laubenthal’s job revolves around implementing decisions made by others, it is a huge expression of trust. Someone who is not an American and whose ultimate allegiance is not to America will be advising on and shaping how decisions are made—he will also be in charge of how those decisions are implemented.
It’s something we’ll probably see more of. “Officials said the addition of a German general officer to the usareur … is part of an American effort to give a more multi-national flavor to its major overseas commands,” the Army Times wrote.
America is trying to draw closer to Germany, even as Germany is forging its own path—a subject Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry addressed in a recent Key of David program. Germany, at the head of Europe, is a major power in its own right, and it’s developing a foreign policy independent of the U.S.
This cavalier trust of other nations is not new. Even the close integration with European militaries in nato gives foreign powers a huge amount of insight into how the American military is run. But this trust is dangerous.
America’s security is being entrusted to the good will of other nations. This is built on the assumption that the days of war between major powers are over—something Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry discussed in his recent Trumpet Daily episode.