Mark Esper, secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD) and 2020 Wash100 Award winner, announced that DoD intends to withdraw 11,900 troops from Germany in support of U.S. European Command’s plans to reposition those personnel to other locations in line with the implementation of the National Defense Strategy, DoD News reported Wednesday.
''Our aim is to implement these moves as expeditiously as possible consistent with the principles I set forth from the beginning, particularly being fair to, and taking care of our service members and their families,'' Esper said.
“As anyone can see, the repositioning of our forces in Europe constitutes a major strategic and positive shift, wholly in line with the NDS and consistent with other adjustments the United States has made within NATO in previous times.''
Esper said about 6,400 personnel will return to the U.S. and the other 5,600 service members will be relocated to other countries within Europe. He added the moves could start within weeks.
''This rebalance, consistent with the NDS, will align NATO and Eucom capabilities, better distribute forces across Europe and increase the use of rotational forces, thus bolstering our commitment to Europe,'' said Air Force Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and fellow two-time Wash100 Award recipient. ''It enhances deterrence and improves operational flexibility," he added.
Germany is home to about 36,000 U.S. troops and the planned drawdown will bring that number to 24,000 warfighters.