The US will be pulling almost 12,000 troops from Germany, with a bit more than half of them—6,400—set to return stateside. The announcement came Wednesday from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said the remaining 5,600 troops withdrawing from Germany will be spread elsewhere throughout Europe, including in Belgium and Italy. Some will move east to "strengthen NATO [and] enhance the deterrence of Russia," he added, per the Financial Times; critics have said it will do the opposite in terms of Russia. The relocation of select Army and Air Force units will start "within weeks," per Esper. The New York Times reports that will bring troop levels in Germany from about 36,000 to 24,000, which slides in under what President Trump in June said would be a cap of 25,000 troops in the country. More:
- When the reduction was first announced in June, the Pentagon said 9,500 troops would leave Germany. CNN cites officials who say the uptick came following a review that established the count of troops permanently assigned to Germany.