The US Department of Defense announced Thursday, Aug. 28, that it plans to cease operations at 15 minor military facilities in Germany as part of the larger restructuring and downsizing of bases around the world.
Heading out: US forces in Germany will eventually be moved to other parts of the world
The Department of Defense stated that the identified facilities were surplus to requirement because of changes already carried out "and the attendant reduction in installation and personnel support requirements" within the Pentagon's plans.
The facilities include barracks, family housing areas and storage areas at Idar-Oberstein, Dexheim and elsewhere. Their current annual operating costs total some $15 million (10.2 million euros).
The closing of facilities in Germany within the remit of the US Army's planned realignment of its military overseas structure will affect 49 military personnel, 350 US civilian and 140 local employees.
The facilities will be returned to German authorities by the end of the year or early in 2009.
The announcement follows similar reductions which took place at the end of 2007.
The closure of Turley Barracks in Mannheim was followed by US Army Europe facilities in Buedingen and Gelnhausen. Sites in Darmstadt and Hanau also will be closed in 2009.
The announced closures follow the publishing of a report by the Washington-based Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in 2005 that stated the US military had apparently completely removed its stock of an estimated 130 nuclear weapons from the Ramstein air base.
The US Army has been slowly initiating a previously announced plan to realign military forces abroad by beginning the closure of a total of 51 bases in Germany and other areas of western and northern Europe.
Units relocating to areas closer to new threats
The Pentagon revealed that it is shifting the German-based units to new bases further south and east of Germany in response to new threats.
The bases already closed and those due to close are those that do not lead operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The closures and previous changes such as the consolidation of various military headquarters under one roof in Wiesbaden are part of a post-Cold War cutback plan that began in the 1990s.