The Trump administration announced today that it will be withdrawing nearly 12,000 troops from Germany. In addition, the U.S. military’s European headquarters will relocate from Stuttgart to Belgium.
The move is the latest in President Trump’s long-running feud with Berlin over Germany’s lack of what is considered adequate NATO defense spending.
“We don’t want to be the suckers any more,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “We’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills; it’s very simple.”
In all, just under 6,000 of the 12,000 troops leaving Germany are expected to remain in Europe. Many of the other forces will return to the U.S. but will rotate into Europe for temporary deployments.
“I’m telling you that this is going to accomplish what the president said with regard to getting us down to a lower number in Europe, and it meets his other objectives I outlined with regards to the strategic piece,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.
Esper also said that some U.S. troops will be repositioned to the Black Sea region and that some could temporarily deploy to the Baltics to counter Russian aggression.
The U.S. currently has about 36,000 troops in Germany.