The U.S. military will reduce its footprint in Germany by nearly one-third after President Donald Trump ordered a dramatic drawdown in force levels from the key NATO ally, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The newspaper cited White House officials who said the move was outlined in a memorandum signed White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien in recent days that has still not been made public yet.
Under the order, U.S. troop presence in Germany would drop by 9,500 servicemembers, from 34,500 today to about 25,000.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration will also cap the number of total troops in the country at 25,000, creating a potential logistics problem for the military. The total personnel presence can swell to double that number or more as units process through major bases in Germany for deployment across the globe.
Officials from the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Military Times. Officials from U.S. European Command deferred comment to the Pentagon. The Pentagon deferred questions to the National Security Council.
Trump for years has lamented the cost of housing U.S. troops at overseas bases, even as Pentagon leaders have emphasized the strategic value of such arrangements and the costs shouldered by U.S. allies.
No information was released on what units currently stationed in Germany could be affected by the move.
In recent months, Trump has also suggested he wants to dramatically reduce the U.S. footprint in South Korea and insisted that government leaders there pay more for the privilege of housing American military forces.
Trump has long fought with Germany and other NATO allies over their future commitments to defense spending, saying that the United States has unfairly covered too much of the global cost of providing security in Europe.
Source: Military Times, June 6, 2020