Feb. 3 (UPI) — A plan to draw down U.S. troop strength in Germany was put on hold, U.S. European Command chief Gen. Tod Wolters said on Wednesday.
President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the proposal to remove about 12,000 troops from Germany by former President Donald Trump, who was angered by Germany’s lack of commitment to a pledge for increased NATO funding, Wolters said.
“The previous planning that was ongoing for the previous initiatives that have been put on freeze,” Wolters said.
He added that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “is at this moment in the process of conducting a very, very thorough review” of the prior planning and will “ultimately embrace our U.S. President and the White House, and deliver us a decision.”
The proposed withdrawal was mentioned and removed from the new National Defense Authorization Act, which was enacted in January over Trump’s veto.
Under the current NDAA, the Pentagon cannot reduce U.S. troop strength in Germany below 34,500 forces without first giving Congress a rundown on how it would impact Europe’s security.
Wolters was a proponent of the pullout plan when it was revealed in July 2020, noting at the time that it would make the U.S. military presence in Europe more agile and effective.
The plan was unpopular with U.S. legislators, who suggested that removing one-third of U.S. troops from Germany, sending half to the United States and the rest remaining in Europe on a rotational basis, could embolden Russia.