Donald Trump on Wednesday confirmed plans to pull out almost one-third of United States troops from Germany to relocate his forces headquarters from Stuttgard to Belgium.
Congressional lawmakers have pushed back against the announcement by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Wednesday that the USA will be removing 12,000 us troops from longtime ally Germany.
Esper said some troops could also go to the Baltic states.
He said the top USA general in Europe always led both military commands - that of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Mons and that of US forces in Europe, situated in Stuttgart since 1967.
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.
Germany responded saying it's taken note of this United States choice and will be coordinating the execution of this withdrawal with the impacted nations, in addition to the USA administration and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners.
US President Donald Trump walks from Marine One to the South Portico of the White House, following a day trip to North Carolina, in Washington, DC, July 27, 2020.
When he announced the plans in June, Trump said, "So we're protecting Germany and they're delinquent".
"This is not picking up your tent and moving to a different campground", said retired U.S. General Ben Hodges, who commanded U.S. army forces in Europe from 2014 until 2017. "They've taken advantage of us for many years".
"I'm telling you that this is going to accomplish what the president said with regard to getting us down to a lower number in Europe, and it meets his other objectives I outlined with regards to the strategic piece", Esper said.
Hodges said that, like Germany, neither of the two main beneficiaries of the relocation of troops within Europe - Italy and Belgium - was close to meeting the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation goal of spending 2% of economic output on defence.
"It's a blow to US interests that won't fulfill the cost-saving objective Mr. Trump claims to be concerned with", the board penned in an opinion piece about the plan to remove troops from Germany. We do not want to continue being the cousins, "Trump said in statements to the media this Wednesday:" We are reducing forces because they are not paying the bills.
"These changes will achieve the core principles of enhancing US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation deterrence of Russian Federation, strengthening North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, reassuring allies and improving USA strategic flexibility", Esper added.
Meanwhile, Peter Beyer, the Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation at the Federal Foreign Office for Germany's government called the decision to remove the troops from Germany "completely unacceptable" and said that the German government was not informed in advance before the decision was made. "This will strengthen North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and improve the operational efficiency and readiness of over 2,000 service members in these headquarters".
The Journal says it estimates the withdrawal from Germany could cost between $6-8 billion.
Esper noted that the Pentagon seeks to implement its plans "as expeditiously as possible", adding that redeployment could begin within weeks.
The Germans themselves noted that by moving American troops, the Trump administration appears to be working against some of its stated objectives.
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