WASHINGTON : Spurred on by President Donald Trump’s demand to pull troops out of Germany, the U.S. will bring about 6,400 forces home and shift about 5,400 to other countries in Europe, U.S. defense officials said Wednesday, detailing a Pentagon plan that will cost billions of dollars and take years to complete.
The decision fulfills Trump’s announced desire to withdraw troops from Germany, at least in part due to its failure to spend enough on defense. U.S. officials said that some moves will begin in months and would likely send air and ground forces to countries that already have an American troop presence. The plan leaves about 25,000 troops in Germany.
Members of Trump’s own political party have criticized the troop move as a gift to Russia and a threat to U.S. national security. Twenty-two Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee fired back with a letter to Trump saying a reduced U.S. commitment to Europe’s defense would encourage Russian aggression and opportunism.
It’s also unclear if the plan would survive if Trump is not reelected in November.
Germany is a hub for U.S. operations in the Middle East and Africa. The decision to keep nearly half the forces in Europe is a clear move by the Pentagon to assuage allies by avoiding the complete withdrawal of 10,000 troops out of the region. And by spreading forces into the East, it sends a message to Russia that the U.S. is not reducing its commitment to the region and remains ready to protect Eastern Europe from any Moscow aggression. AP