U.S. To Move Troops From Germany, In Shift That Esper Says Will Strengthen NATO Against Russia

July 29, 2020 15:13 GMT – By RFE/RL

WASHINGTON — The United States will move almost 12,000 troops out of Germany, relocating some of them to Belgium and Italy, in a strategic shift the Pentagon says will help deter Russia.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on July 29 that the repositioning will strengthen NATO, enhance deterrence against Russia, and improve U.S. strategic and operational flexibility. Of the 34,500 U.S. military personnel stationed in Germany, some 6,400 will be sent home, while nearly 5,600 will be repositioned to other NATO countries.

U.S. President Donald Trump in June announced plans to accelerate a repositioning of troops from Germany, a longtime hub for U.S. military operations in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. The decision came as Trump repeatedly criticized Europe’s richest country for failing to meet its NATO commitment to spend 2 percent of economic output on defense.

Trump’s announcement came as a surprise to the German government, suggesting there was a lack of coordination with a key NATO ally. Esper said the scattered U.S. troop presence in Germany will be consolidated at other locations in Europe, including at NATO bases in Belgium and Italy.

Repositioning air assets to Italy will move them closer to the Black Sea region, while moving U.S. command structures to Belgium will help improve coordination with the NATO command, Esper said. The troop relocation out of Germany is tied to an agreement announced last year to move more than 1,000 U.S. troops to Poland.

Esper said some troops could also go to the Baltic states.

“We are moving forces out of Central Europe, Germany, where they had been since the Cold War.… We are following in many ways the boundary east, where our newest allies are in the Black Sea region, Poland, and the Baltics,” Esper said, addressing larger questions of strategy.

Even as about 6,400 troops will return to the United States, Esper said these units or similar ones will conduct continuous rotational deployments in Europe in the Black Sea region to enhance deterrence and reassure allies along NATO’s southeastern flank. Esper did not provide a timeline for the troop repositioning but said some changes could happen within weeks, while others will take more time.

There has been some resistance in the U.S. Congress against any troop withdrawals from Germany, even from some Republicans who say the move would be a gift to Russia and a threat to U.S. national security. It’s also unclear whether the Trump administration’s plan will survive if the president is not reelected in November.

Earlier this month, the premiers of four German states housing U.S. bases urged members of Congress to block the withdrawal plans. The letter said that U.S. forces in Germany — with their bases, military hospitals, and other infrastructure — form “the backbone of the U.S. presence in Europe and NATO’s ability to act.”

24 comments

  • Out of Germany because they only pay 1,2% instead of the necessary 2%, and in to the Baltics (probably), Poland and Italy so they’re closer to the Black Sea. Sounds good to me.

    Liked by 3 people

  • Trump is quoted on the BBC with this statement. Which is fine by me, except Italy and Belgium spend even less of their GDP on NATO defence than Germany.

    “We’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills; it’s very simple.”

    Liked by 4 people

  • onlyfactsplease

    A good and necessary move. The krauts don’t want to fess up their fair and agreed-upon share of defense spending, so we should not protect them. It really is that simple. However, the troops should be sent only there, where the people embrace us more and who do pay their fair share. This negates Belgium and especially the Ruskie ass-givers Italy.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Why not send some to Holland, Denmark and Portugal? Belgium and Italy are a joke!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Holland voted against Ukraine joining the EU, Denmark endorsed nord stream 2 and Portugal is ruled by socialists who have the revolutionary clenched fist as their flag.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Don’t forget all the ruSSian money parked in the UK, and POTUS wanting Russia back in the G7…

          Sometimes your comments suck! In Holland live more ukrainians than in any other western european country. Denmark’s former Prime Minister and Nato Secretary was Poroshenko’s personal adviser. And Portugal and Ukraine share a long friendship for centuries, since the first portuguese jews arrived in Kyiv.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t forgive or forget the RuSSian money in London and trump wanting them back in G7. It stinks.
            Your comments do not suck 90% of the time. But you ruin that by anti-semitism. You need to quickly grow out of that, since it is the exclusive territory of putlerites and izlamonazis. Would you refuse to be treated by a Jewish or Muslim doctor? We have some outstanding examples of both in London. World famous in their fields. You had better avoid getting sick if you visit.
            Portugal is a friendly country : Britain’s oldest ally in point of fact. But that doesn’t alter the fact that it currently has the type of socialist govt that would discourage trump from moving US troops there.
            Denmark is a friendly country, but from a Ukraine standpoint it let them down badly.
            In my comment on this thread, I said the troops should go to Bessarabia. I know full well they won’t, not least because Romania does not support Ukraine and their president is a kraut.
            The best place for the troops would actually be at the joint Ukraine-US base in Ochakiv. But that won’t happen either.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Being critical of jews seizing too much power is not anti-semitism, it is justified. I never keep my mouth shut when i see things going wrong. About doctors, my dentist is jewish, she is very kind. Thus i’m not anti-semitic. On the other hand, i can’t stand muslims at all. They don’t belong in our countries, they belong where they came from. Back to the core, i think US bases in Ukraine would be best. But this would require Reagan, not Trump or sleepy Joe.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Glad to hear that about your dentist! You had better not let her see what you put yesterday, or she might be upset. You said : “Time jewry and islam will be wiped from civilized societies! They are nothing but arrogant insane criminals. The world must respond to their bullshit and hard!”
                That doesn’t look good on a pro-Ukr blog. Especially since Ukraine was the most Jewish country in the world until the Russians and Germans started doing their filthy work. Half of the Ukrainian intellectuals and scientists murdered by Lenin and Stalin were Jews and half of the entire holocaust victims were Ukrainian.

                Liked by 2 people

                • You know me for almost half a decade, my nick is B-52. You remember the dad of the killed ukrainian soldier and what he said. Sometimes my temper goes nuclear, but that’s the way i am. I cannot peep like a bird only not to upset the readers. Sometimes i have to shake the shit! Sorry.

                  Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the Germans are whining because a chunk are leaving but their politicians seem to hate Americans. I know flying on Lufthansa isn’t as pleasant as it used to be. Now I avoid it and use LOT whenever I can.

      Liked by 1 person

  • This is of no benefit whatsoever to Ukraine or Georgia. Put them in Romania in the Bessarabia region. Then watch the occupier scum in Transnistria start moaning.

    Liked by 3 people

    • If it hampers Moskovia it is good for Ukraine in my book. I’m going with what the Generals believe. We have desired an American presence in the Black Sea and it looks like we will get air support from Italy now. I’m in.

      Like

  • Despite all your celebrations, you guys know that Ukraine and Georgia will never join NATO. The USA and Russia will never engage in a hot war either. Why would the US want to open a new flank while they are getting spanked by the Taliban 😂😂😂

    Like

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