U.S. to move 11900 troops out from Germany: Pentagon

U.S. to move 11900 troops out from Germany: Pentagon

U.S. to move 11900 troops out from Germany: Pentagon

A woman takes a picture with USA soldiers, who are part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation multinational battalion on their way from Germany to Orzysz, northeastern Poland, during a military picnic with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Wroclaw, Poland, March 27, 2017.

"We plead for this profound partnership to continue and for U.S. forces to remain at their locations in Europe and Germany", the leaders of the German states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Bavaria wrote.

Trump publicly called for cutting the number of troops in Germany during a White House news conference with the Polish prime minister last month.

Some U.S. forces now stationed in Germany would be redeployed to Belgium and Italy, and others would begin continuous rotation in the Black Sea region, according to Esper.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper acknowledged the plan will cost billions to execute when he formally announced the decision on Wednesday from the Pentagon.

General John Hyten, vice-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said the troop reallocation would bolster United States commitment to its allies because it would "better distribute forces across Europe and increase the use of rotational forces". They said that in the future other units would rotate in and out of Europe.

The timeline suggests that the plan could be reversed should Trump lose the election in November.

The Pentagon is moving forward with its plan to remove a significant number American troops from Germany, and has now unveiled details to keep half of them in Europe as a deterrent against Russian Federation.

According to US EUCOM and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Tod Wolters, some of the key headquarters now based in Germany will be brought to NATO's SHAPE headquarters in Mons, Belgium, including possibly EUCOM HQ, while two other battalions will go to Italy.

The premiers of four German states that host US troops have appealed to members of the US Congress to block Trump's withdrawal, which current and former American officials, as well as German officials, have criticised as politically, not strategically, driven.

Keeping the 6,400 USA troops in Europe is seen as an effort to ease European concerns. A U.S. official said the process, which would leave about 24,000 forces in Germany, would likely take years. But Hyten said the plan to rely more on rotational forces going to Europe from the US will boost the unpredictability of the overall deterrent.

Planning for withdrawals from Germany began well before Trump gave the order in June, Esper said.

There was also speculation at the time that some of the withdrawn troops would go to the Indo-Pacific region as a counter to China. "Then when we get down to about 25,000, we'll see where we're going", Trump said last month.

The current plan does not foresee a permanent troop re-assignment to Poland but, according to United States officials, could result in the "possibility to reassign more troops to Poland and the Baltics" on a rotational basis. Under that agreement, the US will add a division headquarters, a combat training center, an unmanned aircraft squadron and structure to support a rotational Army brigade.

Overall, the US has about 47,000 troops and civilian personnel in Germany, spread out across a number of bases, headquarters and smaller installations. There also are 2,600 National Guard and Reserve forces in Germany and nearly 12,000 civilians working for the services or the Defense Department.

Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee and an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said the troop withdrawal from Germany "will weaken the (NATO) alliance".

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