According to a German media report on December 4, local time, the latest 2021 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives involved the temporary suspension of U.S. President Trump’s plan to withdraw US army in Germany from Germany.
In mid-June this year, Trump announced that he would withdraw about a third of the US soldiers from Germany as soon as possible. This means that 12,000 of the nearly 34,500 American soldiers stationed in Germany for a long time will be evacuated.
According to the plan, 6,400 of them will return to the United States, and 5,600 will be transferred to other allies including Belgium, Italy, and Poland. At the same time, the US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany will be moved to Mons, Belgium. However, as of now, relevant actions have not been implemented.
According to the consensus of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act reached by the two houses of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Defense is required to submit a risk assessment report to the U.S. Congress, detailing how the reduction in the number of U.S.
army stationed in Germany will affect NATO, European partners, and U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Africa. And why the withdrawal plan is in the interests of the United States. After 120 days at the earliest, the number of American soldiers stationed in Germany will be allowed to fall below 34,500.
It is reported that after the Senate and House of Representatives passed the US$740 billion national defense authorization bill, Trump will need to formally sign this more than 4,500-page document to make it effective. The German media quoted the bill from page 1428 as saying that the U.S. Congress continues to view Germany as a powerful partner of NATO. The presence of about 34,500 U.S.
Army stationed in Germany can not only deter Russia, but also support the United States in the Middle East and Africa. And military operations in Afghanistan.
The US army stationed in Germany are now mainly distributed in the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Wurttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Saarland, and North Rhine-Westphalia. It is generally believed that Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw army from Germany since last year to express his dissatisfaction with the federal government’s military spending.
He even criticized Germany’s military funding to NATO for being too low in public on many occasions, and warned that the United States may adopt measures related to European trade. However, analysts predict that the withdrawal of US army in Germany will not happen during Trump’s term.
The latest data shows that Germany’s military expenditure in 2020 is about 1.58% of its GDP, which is higher than the 1.36% in 2019. In accordance with the commitment of the German Federal Ministry of Defense, Germany plans to reach the goal of increasing military expenditures by NATO member states to 2% of the gross national product in 2024.
It is worth mentioning that in the new version of the National Defense Authorization Act, the US Congress also expressed its willingness to negotiate with European allies before further expanding the scope of sanctions on the Russian gas pipeline project “North Stream 2”. At the same time, sanctions should not be imposed on the governments of EU member states including Germany and relevant EU authorities.