US to withdraw or relocate more troops in Germany than previously thought, dw.com

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has outlined proposals that foresee bringing about 6,400 troops back to the US and relocating another 5,400 within Europe. That entails reducing the presence in Germany by roughly one third. […]

In a major shift, US European Command and Special Operations Command Europe would be moved from Stuttgart in Germany to Mons, Belgium, General Tod Wolters of European Command said.

Esper said that the troop reassignments were part of a larger plan to update US strategy against Russia. “We are following the boundary east, where our newest allies are,” the Defense Secretary said. […]

The German government has said it expects to spend 1.37% of GDP on defense in 2020.  Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer recently questioned whether defense spending alone was a fair measure of NATO members’ contributions to the alliance.[…]

Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder criticized the US withdrawal plan, adding that it served no clear military purpose and would even weaken the NATO alliance and the US itself.

“Unfortunately, this puts a burden on the German-American relationship,” Söder said. […]

Green party opposition politician Jürgen Trittin, who sits on the foreign affairs committee in parliament, told DW he believed the real motivation was not military or defense policy: “It’s more a part of the economic warfare Donald Trump is fighting against the European Union and especially the Germans,” Trittin alleged, calling for Germany to cancel plans to purchase new F-18 fighter jets from the US in response. Läs artikel