Senior US defense officials announced plans to move US troops in Germany to other locations in Europe and back to the US on Wednesday, emphasizing the strategic reasoning for the moves even as President Donald Trump again stated his personal frustration with Germany as motive for the changes.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the changes supported US strategic goals, which include “optimizing our force presence worldwide” and “moving toward greater use of rotational forces from the United States.”
The current plan “repositions approximately 11,900 military personnel from Germany, from roughly 36,000 down to 24,000,” Esper said. “Of the 11,900, nearly 5,600 service members will be repositioned within NATO countries, and approximately 6,400 will return to the United States, though many of these or similar units will begin conducting rotational deployments back to Europe.”
Outlining the moves, Esper said that US military headquarters units would be consolidated in locations outside Germany — in some cases in the same location as their NATO counterparts in Belgium and Italy — which “strengthen NATO and improve operational efficiency.”
Moving the headquarters of US European Command from Germany to Mons in Belgium puts it in the same place as NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and will “improve the speed and clarity of our decision-making and promote greater operational alignment,” Gen. Tod Wolters, head of US European Command, said at the briefing. (Read more from “U.S. Plans to Withdraw 12,000 Troops From Germany” HERE)