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8 Dec, 2023 14:41

Biden reveals surprise NATO drawdown in Europe

The number of US troops on the continent has decreased by 20,000 since 2022
Biden reveals surprise NATO drawdown in Europe

Some 80,000 US troops are currently stationed in Europe, ostensibly there to protect the EU from a potential invasion. That figure is down from 100,000 deployed last year, according to a letter sent to the US Congress by President Joe Biden on Thursday. 

In a document addressed to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives and the Senate’s President pro tempore, Biden provided an overview of the current position of the US military across the globe. 

“Approximately 80,000 United States Armed Forces personnel are assigned or deployed to North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries in Europe, including those deployed to reassure our allies and to deter further Russian aggression,” the letter reads.

By comparison, in June 2022, several months into the Ukraine conflict, the Pentagon said that it had deployed an additional 20,000 troops to Europe, bringing the total to more than 100,000.

Around the same time, NATO also announced plans to increase its military presence on the continent, boosting the number of troops on high alert to over 300,000 in what Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described as “the biggest overhaul of our collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.”

When it comes to other regions, Biden said that the US has more than 2,000 troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, and more than 3,100 in Jordan, where they support counterterrorism efforts against the Islamic State (formerly ISIS). Some 600 American troops are also part of the NATO force in Kosovo, where tensions between local Serbs and ethnic Albanians have been on the rise recently.

In recent weeks, the US has also enhanced its military footprint in the Middle East amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, sending an additional 1,200 soldiers to the region, as well as some advanced military hardware.

Russia has repeatedly said it has no plans to attack NATO while describing the US-led military bloc as a “tool of confrontation” established to contain Russia. Moscow has also repeatedly voiced concerns about the alliance’s expansion to the country’s borders, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling it one of the main reasons for the Ukraine conflict.