President Donald Trump’s decision to pull thousands of troops will take years to be executed, and U.S. defense officials are likely to cost billions of dollars.
The plan to withdraw US troops from NATO’s longtime ally met with widespread bilateral opposition amid fears it would weaken the US military’s position on Russia, but the Trump administration decided to continue the move.
Approximately 11,900 U.S. troops, a mixture of military and air force units, will be removed from Germany to fulfill Trump’s mandate line of 25,000 U.S. forces in Germany. According to the highest representative of the American defense, this number is higher than the 9,500 used when the reduction was first announced.
Officials said the discrepancy was due to the fact that the investigation revealed that slightly more US troops had been permanently assigned to Germany, approximately 36,000 than originally planned.
Of the troops leaving Germany, about 5,400 will “stay in Europe”;, but the official would not identify the exact locations to which they would move, saying that they would only stay in countries that already host US troops at a certain capacity, which includes most European NATO members.
The remaining 6,400 forces and their families will return to the United States and move to Europe on time on a rotating basis, while remaining permanently on the continent.
Defense officials said it would cost billions of dollars, as new military construction is likely to be needed in both Europe and the United States to accommodate more troops.
The lawyer confirmed that the transfer would take “months to plan and years to complete,” a timetable first revealed earlier this month by Senate Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, who was briefed on the plan.
The timetable suggests that the plan could be reversed if Trump loses the November election.
Defense officials say German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have been briefed on the planned drawdown as well as key members of Congress.
Defense officials said Defense Secretary Mark Esper had ordered the relocation to increase intimidation against Russia, strengthen NATO and support the families of members of the US service.
However, Trump, who led the move, said he had done so because Berlin had failed to meet NATO’s target of spending 2% of GDP on defense and spending only about 1.38%.
“One of the few countries that has not agreed to pay what they have to pay (for NATO) is Germany. So I said, until they pay them, we’re removing our troops, a few of our troops, about Then when we get to about 25,000, we’ll see where we’re going, “Trump said last month.
However, defense officials said on Wednesday that the decision on where to place US troops leaving Germany was not affected by whether the new host country met the 2% target.
While Germany’s national leadership was very silent about reducing troops, local officials recently wrote to members of the US Congress asking them to help reverse the decision.
“We demand that this deep partnership continue and that American forces remain in place in Europe and Germany,” wrote the leaders of the German states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Bavaria.
“That is why we ask you to support us, because we are trying not to break the bond of friendship, but to strengthen it and ensure the presence of the USA in Germany and Europe in the future,” the letter adds.