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In addition to watching the stories about protests, COVID19, the economy, and other national security issues, I'll be monitoring 2 other issues this week.

The first is mentioned in the piece below. The other is the testimony of SecDef Esper & CJCS Milley.

Here's why 1/13
First, the POTUS announcement of 9500 troops returning from Germany by September.

A caveat: I served in Europe for 12 years, was involved in the last 2 reductions, & know a bit of how this works.

It'll ll be harder & take longer than POTUS thinks. 2/13
It appears DoD, State, NATO, Germany & Congress were not informed before the announcement & there is still no official "order." Not atypical.

That will make it more difficult, since unlike pulling troops out of combat, military personnel in GE live & have families there. 3/13
Additionally, the bases (kasernes) in Germany abide by laws, status of forces agreements, and there are host-nation workers integrated into US systems and processes.

In effect: these are "assignments" and "communities," not "deployments" and operating bases. 4/13
The US is bound by NATO & host-nation treaties, as well as labor laws (all worked through DOD, State, Congress).

We could pull people out, but we'd still be liable for paying for services, salaries, and all the while US military families would be increasingly pissed. 5/13
Additionally, all current missions would be affected

Truth is, we gain more strategic advantage having forces in Europe than we pay for, so support to allies, training of forces, engagement with & protection of other countries (like Israel!) would be affected. 6/13
Support to other "theaters" would also be affected, since logistics, intel, and US forces and embassies in Europe, Africa, & the Middle East, all receive significant support from the forces stationed in Germany. (The AFRICOM Hqs is in Stuttgart).

Forces in Europe do a lot. 7/13
A story: From 2004-2011 -while US forces in Europe contributed to Iraq & Afghanistan- forces were reduced from 90,000 to 30,000. The force was "sized" with a view toward lowering numbers while still accomplishing post-cold war missions.

These forces are now bare-boned. 8/13
Reducing an additional 9,500 by Sept -while ongoing missions are occurring, families don't know what's happening, governments are not monitoring legal requirements, and there is currently no plan or associated budgets- would be impossible.

It ain't going to happen by Sept. 9/13
Now, item 2. SecDef Esper & CJCS Milley allegedly said they will not testify before Congress, as asked. That's not good.

After a 3 or 4-star general is nominated by POTUS for promotion/position, he/she is confirmed by Congress.

That's an interesting process. 10/13
Because the first thing that occurs in the confirmation process comes via a question:

"Do you agree, if confirmed, and on request, to appear and testify before this Congress when requested?"

If the general answers no, the confirmation process usually ends. 11/13
While political appointees may attempt to flaunt this procedure in appearing for testimony, I would think all military leaders -especially the CJCS- would uphold both the oath, their knowledge of the Constitution, and their integrity & duty when asked to appear. 12/13
These two issues - pulling troops from Europe and testifying before Congress - are two more things I'll be watching this week. You should watch them, too. 13/13
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