After President Trump blasted Germany for not doing its part in supporting NATO, nearly 12,000 U.S. troops will be shifted from Germany. Additionally, the headquarters of the U.S. European Command and Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) will be relocated from Stuttgart, Germany, to Mons, Belgium where the NATO Special Operations Command is located.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced on Wednesday the multi-billion dollar move that will bring 6,400 troops back to the United States and shift another 5,600 to Italy and Belgium. Esper said the troop relocations can begin within weeks but may take years to fully complete.
“It is important to note that in NATO’s 71-year history, the size, composition, and disposition of U.S. forces in Europe has changed many times,” Esper said at a Pentagon news conference. “As we’ve entered a new era of great-power competition we are now at another inflection point in NATO’s history. I am confident the alliance will be all the better and stronger for it.”
“These changes will achieve the core principles of enhancing U.S. and NATO deterrence of Russia, strengthening NATO, reassuring allies and improving U.S. strategic flexibility,” Esper added.