The United States abandons its plan to leave its military bases in Germany and Belgium
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The US military said on Friday it would retain troop sites in Germany and Belgium that were to be relocated, saying they were needed for “growing” defense demands in the region.
The announcement highlighted President Joe Biden’s cancellation of his predecessor Donald Trump’s plan to reduce US troops in Europe and move some bases out of Germany.
The military said its facilities in Ansbach, Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, Pirmasens, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden in Germany and at Caserne Daumerie near Chièvres in Belgium would not now be handed over to host countries.
The locations include housing, support facilities, a base for storing hundreds of armored vehicles, a warehouse and administrative offices.
The reversal of plans made years ago to leave the scene is “due to increasing demands on the European theater,” the military said in a statement.
In July 2020, Trump announced that the United States would withdraw nearly 12,000 of the nearly 35,000 American troops based in Germany, bringing some home and redeploying others elsewhere in Europe.
But Pentagon officials, citing the need for long-term planning for such moves, failed to take immediate action and the current troop level in Germany remains around 35,000.
After Biden took office in January, the Trump plan was scrapped because Washington views Russia as a significant threat to Europe and believes the presence of US troops is critical to NATO’s mission.
In April, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Pentagon would actually add another 500 US military personnel to its lists in Germany, who would be based in Weisbaden.
In June, approximately 28,000 troops from the United States and 25 allied countries participated in Defender 21 military exercises to enhance readiness and interoperability between US forces, NATO and partners.
© 2021 AFP