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A thread on the issue of pulling 9500 troops from Germany.

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
During the Cold War, there were about 270,000 US soldiers (avg) in Germany. That was reduced when the wall fell, and by the end of the 1990's the total strength was about 90,000.

Starting in 2004 under the direction of Pres Bush, a new plan further reduced to about 30,000. 2/13
Rumsfeld's "Europe transformation plan" reduced the size and the missions the US forces in Europe had, as well as lowered the contribution of forces to the NATO alliance.

Not many know what remain as the missions, so I'll highlight just a few here. 3/13
Obviously "deterrence of threats and conducting various contingencies" is an important mission.

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
The main "combat force" for deterrence is 1 Stryker brigade & 1 Airborne brigade. There are no US tanks in Europe, unless a rotational force is there for exercises.

Total amount of "combat forces"...about 8,000. 5/13
But there are many other contingency missions.

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
Then, there's logistics.

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
Europe also has military intelligence hubs in various places.

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
Landstuhl Regional Medical Hospital is a level III trauma care center, which serves as a medical hub for not only transferring combat casualties, but for treating family members of the military...and all the embassies in, again, Europe, Africa, the Middle East. 9/13
A world-class training center at Grafenwoehr was transformed in 2005-6, and trains not just US personnel but the soldiers of myriad nations. Our alliances are built on partner armies being able to work together effectively, and this center provides that. 10/13
This training is critically important, as the militaries of Europe's 49 nations (and Africa's 54) conduct exercises at Graf and throughout the continents, extending our ability to work with other governments and militaries in building coalitions. 11/13
I know I'm biased, but in 2012 when I left the command, I commented that the military in Europe was all muscle, no fat, and fighting above its weight class. To further reduce the size of the force by 1/3 would put missions at a disadvantage. 12/13
Could many nations in NATO provide more funding for their internal defense budgets? Yes, absolutely. But I continue to claim that what we receive in strategic advantage by having the right force in Europe is far beyond any allied fiscal deficiencies that some perceive. 13/13
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