Apr 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon chief announces U.S. will station 500 additional troops in Germany

Lloyd Austin with German defense minister

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer walks with Austin upon his arrival at the Defense Ministry on April 13. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on a trip to Berlin Tuesday that the U.S. will station an additional 500 troops in Germany as soon as this fall "to strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe."

Why it matters: It's a stark reversal from the policies of former President Trump, who sought to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany after accusing the U.S. ally of "delinquent" payments to NATO.

  • Biden froze plans to bring about 6,400 troops home from Germany and redeploy 5,400 to other countries in Europe in February, ordering a Pentagon review of how troops are deployed around the world.
  • Trump's move drew bipartisan criticism in Congress, with lawmakers warning that signs of a weakened U.S. commitment to NATO could encourage further Russian aggression.

The big picture: Austin is currently on an overseas trip to meet with government and military officials in Israel, Germany, NATO headquarters in Belgium, and the U.K. The Biden administration's public display of its commitment to NATO comes as Russia has engaged in a massive build-up of military forces on the border with eastern Ukraine.

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