There has been talk in recent weeks of the U.S. military reducing the number of troops deployed to Germany due to that nation’s failure to pay its fair share of the NATO defense budget.
President Donald Trump’s critics, of course, opposed the prospective redeployment of roughly 9,500 American troops out of Germany, and that outrage will likely only grow now that he has signed off on a plan put forward by the Defense Department to do just that, according to The Hill.
Redeployment plan approved
A spokesman for the Pentagon revealed on Tuesday that the U.S. military is prepared to move forward with a plan to reduce its footprint in Germany by approximately 9,500 troops in the near future, now that President Trump has given his stamp of approval on the specifics.
The Pentagon’s redeployment plan was presented to the president on Monday by Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, according to Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, The Hill noted.
The proposal that was approved not only meets the president’s directive, it will also enhance Russian deterrence, strengthen NATO, reassure allies, improve U.S. strategic flexibility and U.S. European Command’s operational flexibility, and take care of our service members and their families, the spokesman explained.
Hoffman noted that NATO allies would be consulted by Pentagon leaders and, following that, those leaders would similarly brief congressional defense committees “in the coming weeks.” He told reporters: “We will be providing timely updates to potentially affected personnel, their families and communities as planning progresses.”
Next steps for affected troops
It remains unclear where all of the roughly 9,500 troops will go after being removed from Germany, which has played host to a large contingent of U.S. military troops since the end of World War II and throughout the Cold War. The country is home to the headquarters for both U.S. Africa and European Commands, as The Hill reported, and it is the site of a major military hospital and transit hub for the global movement of military forces.
There has been speculation that while some of the affected soldiers could return home to the U.S., others may be redeployed to other locations in the region, such as Poland. In fact, President Trump said as much during a recent joint press conference at the White House with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Trump noted that Poland is one of the few NATO allies that has fully contributed its portion of the NATO budget and that it has been requesting additional U.S. troops in its territory. Furthermore, Poland agreed to cover the costs of any U.S. troops deployed within its borders, a significant selling point, to be sure.
“So we’re going to be reducing our forces in Germany. Some will be coming home, and some will be going to other places. But Poland would be one of those other places — other places in Europe,” Trump said during the press event, according to a White House transcript.
Of course, both Democrats and some Republicans have spoken out against the idea, with Democrats predictably casting the potential move as a sign of weakness and as a conciliatory gesture to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In that vein, the House Armed Services Committee was expected this week to weigh an amendment that would hinder the president’s ability to move forward with the troop withdrawal, as The Hill noted.
However, should some or all of those troops be redeployed to Poland, the exact opposite of what Democrats are claiming would in fact be the case. Those U.S. troops would actually be positioned even closer to the Russian frontier and serve as an even more effective deterrent to Russian aggression in the region.