The Pentagon will remove nearly 12 000 troops from Germany, sending thousands of service members home to the U.S. and shifting others to different locations in Europe, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced.
The plan would fulfill Donald Trump’s demands to remove thousands of troops from Germany, which he has long derided as delinquent on its defense spending obligations within NATO. The announcement also comes after a months long review of American force strength in Europe, where some troops are permanently stationed and others deploy on rotational tours to train alongside NATO allies in an effort to deter Russian aggression on the continent.
“It is important to note that in NATO’s 71-year history, the size, composition and disposition of U.S. forces in Europe has changed many times. As we’ve entered a new era of great-power competition we are now at another … inflection point in NATO’s history. I am confident the alliance will be all the better and stronger for it”, - Esper said during a Pentagon news briefing.
The plan would move about 5 600 American troops now in Germany to other NATO countries, largely Belgium and Italy. It would send another roughly 6 400 troops to new permanent stations in the U.S. Esper did not identify U.S. bases that could receive an influx in troops.