Donald Trump approves plan to shift US troops from Germany

Clay Curtis
July 1, 2020

US President Donald Trump has approved a plan presented by the Pentagon to withdraw 9,500 American soldiers from Germany as he had ordered, the Department of Defense said.

President Donald Trump on Monday approved plans to significantly reduce the number of United States troops in Germany after being briefed by top Pentagon officials on the move, which was directed by Trump and has drawn bipartisan criticism that it would weaken the U.S. military's ability to deter Russian Federation.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the move, which has sparked concerns in Berlin and in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, is to redeploy the troops and will "enhance Russian deterrence, strengthen North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, (and) reassure allies", as well as improving United States strategic flexibility. "We will be providing timely updates to potentially affected personnel, their families and communities as planning progresses", he said. But Trump, meeting at the White House on Wednesday with Polish president Andrzej Duda, said Wednesday that Poland would be one of the European countries receiving USA troops. "Some will be coming home and some will be going to other places".

National security adviser Robert O'Brien has also argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that forces are needed in the Indo-Pacific region. The US contingent in Germany is expected to be slashed by 9,500 troops, meaning that Washington will still have a sizable 25,000-strong presence there.

"At a time when the US and our European allies must continue to stand hand in hand in deterring malign influences, it is in our national security interest, as well as in the interest of our allies and partners, to continue our presence in Germany", Sen.

Senators move to block Trump's proposal to pull thousands of troops out of Germany

Trump has cast the move as a response to Germany not meeting NATO's goal of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.

On Monday, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators announced efforts to limit Trump's ability to pull troops from Germany by restricting tax payer dollars.

"The president has a way of simply unilaterally saying we're pulling them out, and then they backfill the plan".

"I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump told Stoltenberg at the time. "It is possible that there is a scenario where repositioning troops out of Germany is in our national security interests". The [Defense Department] has not made that case.

That bill - had President Trump not vetoed it - would have curbed the White House's ability to declare war with Iran without congressional approval.

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