Congress looks to halt Trump’s effort to move US troops from Germany

Congress looks to halt Trump’s effort to move US troops from Germany

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, wait to board a bus at Albrecht Duerer Airport Nuernberg in Germany, June 22, 2020. 101st CAB deployed, as the sixth rotation of an aviation brigade, to Europe for a nine-month rotation as part of the regionally allocated forces supporting Atlantic Resolve. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Alleea Oliver)

WASHINGTON — Congress is looking at bipartisan proposals to slow if not stop President Trump’s desire to remove almost 10,000 U.S. troops from Germany.

The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that it acceded to Trump’s demand and will remove 9,500 troops — many with families – from Germany. When that is to occur and where the troops will relocate was not stated.

House and Senate members have been vocal in opposing the proposed troop slashing, saying it undercuts NATO and gives Russia more power.

A bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, proposed an amendment to the Senate’s version of the annual defense policy bill that would freeze troop numbers in Germany. Whether that amendment gets a vote on the Senate floor is unknown, as the Senate is already debating its version of the 2021 defense blll.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., told reporters Tuesday the White House demand seemed strategically unwise and that Congress should block move or delay the withdrawal until the White House or the Pentagon provides more details. He hinted there could be legislative action is likely in his committee today when the panel starts it markup of its version of the defense bill.

An amendment is possible from Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the ranking GOP member on the committee. He has said the drawdown would “benefit the Russians,” “disillusion our allies” and create a logistical headache for the Pentagon.

“It is possible that there is a scenario where repositioning troops out of Germany is in our national security interests,” Smith told reporters. “The president has not made that case to date, the [Department of Defense] has not made that case to date, and the president is doing it in a very haphazard manner.”

Trump’s move would permanently cut the stationed force in Germany from 34,500 troops to 25,000.

Pentagon observers noted that former Defense Secretary James Mattis would likely have found a way to slow-walk the White House demand, at least until the results of the November election.

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