US to send 500 extra troops to Germany ‘as early as fall’, Pentagon chief says, as Berlin praises ‘strong signal of solidarity’
The American military presence in Germany will be increased by 500 soldiers, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said, reversing the policy of former President Donald Trump.
Around 500 additional troops will be permanently stationed in the city of Wiesbaden “as early as this fall,” Austin said at news conference with his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in Berlin. Wiesbaden already houses a US Army base, and a military airfield is located nearby.
Austin said new soldiers will “augment our existing abilities to prevent conflict and, if necessary, to fight and win.” He added that more troops will increase the capacity for space, cyber and electronic warfare, and improve the ability to “surge forces at a moment’s notice to defend our allies.”
Local media quoted Kramp-Karrenbauer as saying that the news of additional forces is a “strong signal of solidarity” between Berlin and Washington, and that German authorities will do their best to accommodate American troops. She also praised Austin, calling him “a friend of this country.”
Former President Trump planned to withdraw 12,000 of around 35,000 American soldiers from Germany and relocate them elsewhere in Europe. The scheduled pullout, heavily criticized by officials in Berlin who argued it would undermine NATO, was halted by President Joe Biden back in February.
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