Friday, January 9, 2015

US to cut European military bases to save cost, Pentagon says

The US military will divest an air base in Britain and return it and 14 other facilities in Europe back to their home nations, the Pentagon said on Thursday, in a bid to save the US government about 500 million US dollars annually.

The restructuring will pull thousands of US military and civilian personnel out of the 15 sites mostly in the United Kingdom and Germany over several years, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The Pentagon would divest RAF Mildenhall, northeast of London, and withdraw 3,200 US personnel from the base home to tanker, reconnaissance and special operations aircraft over the next several years, it said.

The Pentagon also has selected RAF Lakenheath in the UK to be the first permanent European base for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The first aircraft are scheduled to arrive in the UK in 2020 to replace F-15 fighter jets, it said. "The decision reflects the closeness of the US-UK defense relationship and the military value of the basing in the UK," added said.

The reduction in RAF Mildenhall would be partially offset as about 1,200 US military personnel would be permanently stationed at RAF Lakenheath along with two squadrons of F-35 fighters, the Pentagon said, adding that the net loss of US troops in Britain would be about 2,000.

About nine facilities in Germany would be closed or partially closed, but overall US troop numbers in the country were expected to increase a few hundred, according to the statement. In Portugal, some 500 US military and civilian personnel would be withdrawn from Lajes Field in the Azores.

"These actions will result in a slight decrease in our force levels, but will also ensure they are most effectively positioned to enable the US and our NATO allies to respond quickly to crises worldwide," the statement said.

"Additionally, these actions will result in the greater efficiency and effectiveness of our presence in Europe by reducing the US footprint while ensuring that the infrastructure in place will continue -- now and into the future -- to sustain US interests and support our partners in the region," it said.

The transformation of the infrastructure will help maximize US military capabilities in Europe and help strengthen America's important European partnerships, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in the statement.

The Pentagon has been systematically taking US forces out of Europe in recent years, reflecting the ongoing decrease in the size of the Army and Marine Corps as well as the increased emphasis on the Pacific and a desire to shift additional troops into Eastern Europe and other regions where tensions with Russia have grown.

  Source:Xinhua -

1 comment :

  1. Closure of US Bases in Europe Not to Affect Military Capabilities: Official ...

    The reduction of the number of US military bases in Europe will not have an effect on the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI), launched by the United States to boost the military capabilities of its allies in Eastern Europe amid the Ukrainian crisis, a US defense official has told journalists.

    "This [military base consolidation] effort is over two years in the making, and the ERI, of course, is something that — that President Obama asked for these additional funds last summer from the Congress," Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet said at a press briefing Thursday, stressing that these are "totally separate processes".

    Chollet explained that the United States will use the funds allocated for the ERI to fund its military presence and continue exercises in Europe.

    "So the $1 billion — nearly $1 billion that we've received from our Congress at the end of last year will enable us to have some infrastructure improvements in facilities that we use for our rotational presence, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe; also help fund a robust exercise schedule," the official explained..................


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