WASHINGTOPN, (BM) – The head of the White House, Joe Biden, suspended the previous US President Donald Trump’s decision to transfer American troops from Germany and Belgium to Poland, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Gazeta.
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New US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin “is in the process of conducting a very, very thorough review” of the plan, the Pentagon said.
Washington has “frozen” the plan to move US troops from Germany and Belgium to Poland. Air Force General Todd Walters, Commander of the US European Command, Air Force General Tod Walters, told reporters at a press briefing on Wednesday, February 3.
According to him, the new US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin “is in the process of conducting a very, very thorough review” of the plan, writes Politico. “The previous plan was put on hold so that our Secretary of Defense and [new US President Joe Biden ] ‘s administration can conduct a thorough analysis of everything that happened before Austin took office,” Walters said.
According to the White House’s former head, Donald Trump, the United States was supposed to withdraw from Europe about 12 thousand troops and relocate some of those currently stationed in Germany. Walters added that he did not know what decision the Biden administration would make regarding the future troop strength in Europe.
The massive change in the US military presence in Europe, announced last summer, was justified by then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other Trump administration officials as an attempt to adapt some Cold War solutions to modern threats.
However, the decision had criticized as politically motivated following public disputes between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom the US president once called “stupid,” and regularly criticized for allowing her country to rely on Russian energy resources.
Esper has repeatedly denied these allegations, saying the decision came after months of deliberation. At the same time, Trump publicly stated that he would not return the troops to Germany “until they pay,” meaning 2% of the FRG’s GDP. This 2% of NATO member countries agreed to spend on their defense in 2014.
At the time, the military, including Walters, supported this decision. “This will increase the speed and clarity of our decision-making and promote greater operational consistency,” he said last July. Now, at a February 3 briefing, he was asked about the apparent change in point of view, but Walters dismissed the claim. “At that time, based on the recommendations issued, we considered the presented option to be the most profitable,” the general added.
“This is perhaps the clearest example of the awkward situation that professional military personnel has sometimes found themselves in during the Trump administration, torn between command and sudden, chaotic White House decisions under Trump,” writes US News columnist Paul Shinkman.
Austin himself, last week confirmed the divergence in military policy with the previous government, saying that all troop transfer orders signed by Trump are now reviewing.
In a conversation with his German counterpart, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Austin expressed gratitude to Germany for its military partnership with the United States.
During his speech on October 20, 2020, at the Atlantic Council, Esper said that Washington is considering the possibility of redeploying the second armored regiment of the US Ground Forces from Germany to another European country permanently closer to Russia’s borders. Earlier, he noted that the American military is being transferred from Germany to Eastern Europe to contain Moscow.
The plan to withdraw American troops from Germany was highly unpopular among both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, who argued that such a move would “give Russia courage.”
As a result, lawmakers blocked the withdrawal of troops. The National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) prohibits the Pentagon from reducing US forces in Germany below 34,500 until the Department of Defense provides Congress with a detailed analysis of how the move will affect the security situation in Europe.
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