12,000 U.S. troops to leave Germany

01 Août, 2020, 11:41 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper

Republican Sen. Mitt Romeny (Utah), a frequent critic of the president, blasted the decision, saying in a statement, "The plan outlined by the Administration today to remove thousands of USA troops from Germany is a grave error".

Almost 4,500 service members will return to the USA while the remaining 5,600 members will be dispersed throughout Europe in the U.K., Italy, Belgium, Poland and the Black Sea Region.

In a slap at a longtime ally frequently reviled by President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Wednesday that the US plans to withdraw roughly a third of the 36,000 American forces stationed in Germany.

"We also plan on rotating the lead element of the Army's newly established fifth corps headquarters to Poland", said Esper.

He stressed that the action is part of his broader plan to reposition USA military forces around the world to better address key threats and enhance flexibility, including with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, which is focused on deterring a possible Russian threat to Europe.

"As we've entered a new era of Great Power Competition, we are now at another one of those inflection points in NATO's evolution, and I am confident the Alliance will be all the better and stronger for it", he added.

"These changes will achieve the core principles of enhancing USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation deterrence of Russian Federation, strengthening North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, reassuring allies, and improving US strategic flexibility and EUCOM operational flexibility", Esper said. He was briefed on the issue last week, and he issued a statement saying the "concept for realigning USA military posture in Europe" is sound.

However, the final decision on the implementation of the planned partial deduction might go to the US Congress, where resistance has formed among both Democrats and Republicans, who through a law on the upcoming military budget could adjust any of such plans.

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Around 24,000 United States military personnel will remain in Germany.

"Afterwards we were held up for a week, there was no further information, although the German government tried to find out more through all channels", Beyer added. It's not clear that's true, as Esper said the costs would be in the single-digit billions, but there is certainly no reason moving 12,000 troops would take years. The United States will move its European Command (EUCOM) and European Special Operations headquarters to Belgium, EUCOM commander Tod Wolters reported. Esper is also looking at shifting troops permanently to Poland.

There are now around 74,000 US troops in Europe.

Trump has legitimate problems with Germany's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense commitments and its support for a Russian gas pipeline, the board noted. "We're protecting Germany, so we're reducing the force because they´re not paying the bills", said the United States leader. "It's very simple, they're delinquent".

In 2014, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members agreed to reach the benchmark of 2 percent of their GDP on defense by 2024. The New York Times reports that will bring troop levels in Germany from about 36,000 to 24,000, which slides in under what President Trump in June said would be a cap of 25,000 troops in the country.

Defense expenditure figures from 2019 show that only eight of the 30 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members have met the two percent threshold - a figure agreed to by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations in 2006.

For Obama, "Germany was seen as the indispensable partner, especially in light of Brexit", David-Wilp said. Additionally, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has recently suggested that the coronavirus crisis is going to slow progress towards the 2 percent target.

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