USA to pull 12,000 troops out of Germany

USA to pull 12,000 troops out of Germany

Almost 5,600 personnel would be repositioned in other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries, such as Italy and Poland, and 6,400 would return to the US.

However, any move back to US soil of a combat brigade team, which comprises around 4,000 soldiers, would signal to Moscow that Washington was less committed to protecting Europe.

Meanwhile, the planned relocation of 2,500 U.S. air force personnel from Britain to Germany has been cancelled.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, pictured earlier this month, announced a drawdown of USA troops in Germany on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained that US allies are exploiting the country on defense spending.

At the moment, there are about 36,000 USA troops stationed in the Central European country.

"Let's be clear. I think Germany is the wealthiest country in Europe". "Germany can and should pay more to its defense". It can and should meet its 2 percent standard.

About 5,600 soldiers will be moved throughout Europe and 6,400 will come back to the U.S.

A reduction of US troops was "not in the security interest of Germany or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)", Beyer announced on Twitter.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper seemingly mistook the word "peace" for "war" when he made a gaffe in the middle of a speech on the relocation of American troops in Europe.

Esper said about half of the 11,900 will be placed in other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries and the rest will return to the United States.

The Pentagon also will move an F-16 fighter squadron from Germany to Italy, to help protect NATO's southeastern flank near the Black Sea.

The U.S. military also plans on rotating the lead element of the Army's newly established V Corps headquarters to Poland, once Warsaw signs a defense cooperation agreement and burden-sharing deal, as previously pledged.

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Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who spoke alongside Esper, called the re-balance of troops "essential".

"That obviously has an impact on the security thinking of the European Union, of Europe as whole".

"Instead of strengthening North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the troop withdrawal will weaken the alliance", Norbert Roettgen, a senior member of Chancellor Angel Merkel's conservatives, told Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters, "This rebalance, consistent with the NDS (National Defense Strategy) will align North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Eucom capabilities, better distribute forces across Europe and increase the use of rotational forces thus bolstering our commitment to Europe". "They've taken advantage of us for many years".

The Trump administration on Wednesday set out details of its plan to remove 11,900 troops from Germany "within weeks" amid ongoing tension between Chancellor Merkel and President Trump.

The headquarters for the European Command and the European Special Operations Command, now located in Stuttgart, Germany, will be relocated to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Belgium.

However, retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a senior fellow at the Defense Priorities think tank, called the withdrawal "a welcome first step to a necessary and overdue reduction of US forces on the continent". But part of Germany's position as a central hub in the region will also be revoked as part of the Pentagon's plan.

The troops will be reduced to 24,000 units, its lowest number since World War II (although it will continue to be the second country with the most USA military after Japan).

The current plan does not foresee a permanent troop re-assignment to Poland but, according to U.S. officials, could result in the "possibility to reassign more troops to Poland and the Baltics" on a rotational basis. Noting the combination of Germany's location along with its transportation and logistics, Rathke said: "You can't replicate that elsewhere".

"And the flexibility that this affords us certainly complicates a potential enemy against us and it dramatically improves our operational capability to more effectively deter and defend", he added.

The Pentagon has announced it will move 11,900 troops, along with its European command headquarters, out of Germany, as it shifts to a more flexible rotational model and reshuffles units closer to NATO's Eastern flank with Russian Federation.

Follow Breitbart News's Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook.

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