WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced his plan to realign and withdraw troops from the United States European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility, specifically reducing the number troops in Germany.
“I am very concerned that the Administration’s plan to reduce our forward presence in the EUCOM area of responsibility seems to be based on an arbitrary cap imposed on numbers of forward stationed U.S. forces in a given country, rather than an underlying analysis of military need and national security justification.
“By the Secretary’s own admission, this plan was not drafted in consultation with U.S. allies or with the military services, but instead all parties – including Congress – were notified after decisions had already been made. Not only does the plan fail to consider major logistical issues, questions about deterrence and implementation of the National Defense Strategy, and concerns about implications for U.S. efforts in Africa and elsewhere, but also it will almost certainly result in significant costs to the Department.
“President Trump has made a habit of bullying our partners and allies into executing his wishes and on his timeline under the guise of his foolish ‘America First’ policy. Threatening to the withdraw the U.S. military presence from a region after demanding payments is a perfect example of policy that may appear to put America First, while in reality it strains our relationships with partners and allies and undermines our national security.
“We live with the consequences of major posture decisions for a very long time. While there may be some beneficial concepts embedded in this plan, it is essential that Congress assess the entirety of the concept as it relates to U.S. national security needs, and ensure that specific changes to U.S. posture in Europe are tied to specific national security objectives. The House of Representatives spoke on this subject last week, when it passed the National Defense Authorization Act containing a bipartisan amendment that would limit a drawdown without a careful assessment of the implications, costs, planning, and necessary certifications regarding the impact on national security.”
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