The U.S. Army's top general said Tuesday that his country would pull troops out of Germany. After rumors had been flying for years, it was only a question of time until a senior official confirmed the moves.
Military overhead is too high in Germany, U.S. officials say
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker announced Tuesday in Washington that the United States would reduce its divisions in Germany in the course of cutting back on Cold War deployments.
General Schoomaker stressed that the costs to keep troops stationed there were immensely high. "As we redistribute our forces globally we will reduce the amount of divisions in Germany," Schoomaker told reporters.
"There is an extraordinary amount of overhead in Germany, of uniformed people that have nothing to do with budget, that have everything to do with running installations, guarding installations, managing housing, and all that stuff that counts against our endstrength," he said. "I want to convert those people into something that is usable in uniform."
The United States plans to restructure its armed forces to be better able to respond rapidly to crises throughout the world.
German-based troops to be halved
Soldiers of the U.S. Army's V Corps, based in Heidelberg, march to a welcome back ceremony at the Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg in March after deployment in Iraq.
Altogether some 70,000 U.S. soldiers are stationed in Germany. Two Army divisions that account for around half of the U.S. forces in the country are reportedly being considered for withdrawal: the 1st Armored Division and the 1st Infantry Division, which are stationed in Bavaria, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate. Both divisions are involved in operations in Iraq.
Schoomaker refrained from providing details of the troop reductions. News reports though have suggested that the withdrawal could be tempered by sending a light armoured Stryker division to Germany. U.S. troops have been stationed in Germany throughout the post-World War II era. During the Cold War, the United States maintained a large troop presence in Western Germany.