Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced Tuesday in Berlin that the United States will increase the number of American troops in Germany by 500 soldiers and that this “underlines Washington’s commitment” to the country and NATO.
Austin met in the German capital with the German Minister of Defense, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who responded that this disposition of the United States is “a strong signal” of the state of bilateral relations.
The secretary said the additional troops “will strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe. They will augment our existing abilities to prevent conflict and, if necessary, fight and win.”
Austin’s announcement follows last February’s announcement by U.S. President Joe Biden, who announced the suspension of the troop withdrawal in Germany ordered by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Biden said that it will be precisely Austin who “will lead a global review of our force positions so that our military presence is properly aligned with our international policy and national security priorities.”
Pending that review, the president said, “we will halt any plans to withdraw troops from Germany.”
Biden’s predecessor announced last June his intention to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Germany because he considered Berlin’s defense spending insufficient, arguing that the United States should not have to pay for it.
Last summer, the number of American troops in Germany was 52,000 troops deployed at different bases, of which some 34,500 were active-duty soldiers and the rest were civilian Defense Department employees.
Trump’s plan also called for moving the U.S. Forces Europe Command from Stuttgart, Germany, to Belgium, in what would have been the largest redeployment of U.S. troops in Europe in decades.
Austin specified today in Berlin that the new American troops in Germany will be permanently stationed in the Wiesbaden area next fall.
“This move will also create more space, more cyber and electronic warfare capabilities in Europe,” added Austin, who also estimated that the troop increase “will greatly enhance our ability to mobilize forces quickly to defend our allies.”