The U.S. president, Donald trump has directed the Pentagon to reduce sharply the number of U.S. military forces stationed in Germany, where a heavy presence of GIs has long served as a symbol of Washington’s commitment to protecting its European allies.
The White House would not confirm the plan, which was first reported Friday by the Wall Street Journal, but current and former officials familiar with it said Trump would cap the U.S. military presence at 25,000 — requiring a reduction of nearly 30 percent, or roughly 9,700 troops.
As of March 31, there were 34,674 U.S. military personnel stationed in Germany, including 20,774 from the Army and 12,980 from the Air Force, according to the most recent publicly-available Pentagon deployment report.
Some 19,000 additional civilian employees support the uniformed military forces, and that number would almost certainly be cut as a result of the planned
The reduction in forces stands to reverse an increase in the U.S. military presence in Europe during Trump’s administration, which NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has trumpeted repeatedly to refute any suggestion that America’s commitment to the alliance might be wavering under the president who once called it “obsolete” and who has repeatedly bashed allies for not spending enough on their own militaries.
Stoltenberg has pointed to the increased U.S. presence as part of NATO’s effort to step up deterrence against an increasingly aggressive and assertive Russia. Moscow undoubtedly will cheer any reduction in the U.S. military footprint in Europe, which the Kremlin has regarded as a menacing presence since the days of the Cold War.