US Troop Withdrawal from Germany Shakes Up NATO Allies

In a tweet heard around the world, President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States is withdrawing troops from Germany. Nearly 12,000 troops will be relocated as the U.S. ratchets down its military presence.

Approximately 6,500 troops will come home and 5,400 troops will be repositioned to other stations around the world, according to Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s announcement yesterday.

In a major shift of Washington’s NATO assets, some troops will be sent to Italy and Belgium. Esper indicated that this is part of a long-term plan to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank against Russia.

The headquarters of U.S. Africa Command, which currently has about 2,000 personnel in Stuttgart, Germany, will also likely be moved to Belgium, although a final location has yet to be determined, according to Esper.

“Germany’s delinquent,” stated President Trump during a White House press conference, according to a CSPAN report. “They haven’t paid their fees, haven’t paid their NATO fees. They’re way off. And they’ve been off for years and they have no intention on paying it. The United States has been taken advantage of.”

While no timetable is given, Esper indicated that some units could start moving within weeks, while other troop withdrawal depends on working agreements with allies.

“No moves will take place without thorough communication with our people” affected by the withdrawals and with Congress, Esper said.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has voiced support for the plan while also acknowledging it will take “months to plan and years to execute.” He was briefed on the issue last week, and he issued a statement saying the “concept for realigning U.S. military posture in Europe” is sound, according to a Fox News report.

President Trump approved the Pentagon’s withdrawal proposals last month, a controversial order that shaken up the NATO alliance and has prompted moves in the Senate to block funding for the effort.

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