I'll start with the arguments are significantly more complex than the binary "we need them to stay" or "some European countries need to contribute more."
Both true, but neither address US strategy. 1/13
Starting in 2004 under the direction of Pres Bush, a new plan further reduced to about 30,000. 2/13
Not many know what remain as the missions, so I'll highlight just a few here. 3/13
US forces provide active deterrence to an ever-expanding Russian adventurism.
Forces in Europe allow us to be "an ocean closer" to several hotspots, for quick response. 4/13
Total amount of "combat forces"...about 8,000. 5/13
Like...contributions to Israel (Israel is in Europe's area of opns), peace enforcement (Kosovo), missile defense, non-combatant evacuation, and others that are classified. 6/13
The USAF hub in Ramstein is one of the biggest in the world.
But the US Army controls most of the logistical operations supporting Europe and other theaters (Africa, Middle East, others) at Kaiserlautern.
The hub provides a strategic advantage. 7/13
I won't go into what they do, but they track significant information on the Continent, Africa, and the Middle East to agencies in DC. 8/13