Pentagon says Trump has approved plans to cut troops in Germany

Elias Hubbard
July 1, 2020

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the move, which has sparked concerns in Berlin and in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, is to redeploy the troops and will "enhance Russian deterrence, strengthen North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, (and) reassure allies", as well as improving USA strategic flexibility.

A bipartisan group of USA senators has introduced an amendment to next year's national defense bill that would prevent President Donald Trump from withdrawing large numbers of troops from Germany.

The move will cut the current troop level in Germany from about 34,500 to 25,000, Mr Trump's stated goal.

"After consultation with the allies of the United States, that such a reduction: is in the national security interest of the United States; will not undermine the security of United States allies and European partners; will not undermine the deterrence and the defense posture of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; will not pose unacceptable risk to the ability of the (U.S.) armed forces to execute contingency plans of (Department of Defense); will not adversely impact operations of the armed forces, including operations of United States Central Command and the United States Africa Command; will not negatively impact military families; will not result in significant additional costs for redeployment and relocation of US troops".

In addition, DoD pledged to provide "timely updates to potentially affected personnel, their families and communities as planning progresses", Hoffman said.

Hoffman gave no initial indication of the cost of the withdrawal plan that is facing bipartisan pushback in the House and Senate. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lindsey Graham of SC and Marco Rubio of Florida, joined Democratic Sens.

"In addition to undermining our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, a withdrawal would present serious logistical challenges and prevent our military from performing routine military readiness exercises", Romney said.

The proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would limit the funds available to reduce the number of active-duty troops in Germany. "We can not abandon our commitment to our allies, and instead must strengthen our alliances in order to reign in the world's bad actors".

Defense Secretary Mark Esper would be required to submit a report to Congress that certifies how a reduction would serve US national security interests while not undermining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, security in Europe and the military's ability to respond in a crisis.

Mr Trump said earlier this month he was cutting troops due to unhappiness with Germany. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday that he expects an amendment to be introduced in the committee to stall the drawdown.

"We strongly believe that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, such as Germany, should do more to contribute to our joint defense efforts", it states.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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