- The Washington Post previously reported the Pentagon was looking into withdrawing all U.S. troops from Germany amid tensions between President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
- But Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S. permanent representative to NATO, told reporters on Thursday that next week’s summit will not include a discussion of whether U.S. troops should leave Germany.
- “There is nothing being said at all about the troop alignment in Germany or anything that would change the 32,000-troop force that we have in Germany,” Hutchison told reporters during Thursday conference call. “It's very important that that be the capability to base and train, which we do there, and be able to deploy our troops in a safe way, which Germany is willing to help us do.”
- The Washington Post also reported on June 29 that Pentagon officials were “analyzing the cost and impact of a large-scale withdrawal or transfer of American troops stationed in Germany,” but senior defense leaders were not yet involved with the effort and the Pentagon had not been ordered to take any action.
- None of that is true, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told Task & Purpose on Thursday: “The Washington Post story that started this rumor was based on pure conjecture and assumptions,” Pahon said in an email. “Contrary to what the WP reported, the National Security Council has not requested a DOD cost analysis on the repositioning or removal of U.S. troops in Germany.”
- The department regularly reviews force posture and performs cost-benefit analyses. This is nothing new. Germany is host to the largest U.S. force presence in Europe,” Pahon added.” We remain deeply rooted in the common values and strong relationships between our countries.”
A Washington Post spokeswoman countered that Pahon’s statement does not conflict with the original story, which reported that Trump has expressed surprise and concern to his aides about how many U.S. troops are in Germany.
“The Pentagon is carrying out a cost and impact analysis of ‘a largescale withdrawal or transfer’ of those troops,” said Kristine Coratti Kelly. “The Post story never said this analysis was requested by the NSC.
“The story included a quote from an NSC spokesman saying the NSC had not requested the analysis, although ‘the Pentagon continuously evaluates U.S. troop deployments’ and such ‘analysis exercises’ are ‘not out of the norm.’ It also included a quote from a Pentagon spokesman that is virtually identical to today’s statement.”
President Trump’s will attend a NATO summit in Brussels on July 11 and 12.
UPDATE: This story was updated on June 5 with comment from a Washington Post spokeswoman.