The Pentagon is analyzing the costs and implications of a large-scale retreat or deployment of US troops stationed in Germany, and growing tensions between President Trump and Chancellor Angela Merkel, the people familiar with the work say.
Effort follows Trump's expression of interest in the elimination of troops made during a meeting earlier this year with the White House and military helpers, US officials said. Trump is amazed at the size of the US presence, which includes some 35,000 active soldiers, and complains that other countries do not fairly contribute to common security or pay enough for NATO. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 1
US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to comment on the unpublished efforts, emphasized that the exercise should focus on one limited internal investigation of options. The top military are not yet involved, and the Pentagon does not have the job of figuring out how to run any option.
A National Security Council spokesman in the White House said in a statement that the NSC had not asked for an analysis by the Department of Defense to reposition troops in Germany. But "the Pentagon continues to assess US troop deployments," the statement said, and such "analysis exercises" are "not out of the norm."
Several officials suggested that Pentagon policymakers had advanced the assessment to prove the value of the present basic agreement and discouraged Trump from continuing the idea of withdrawal.
Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon dismissed any suggestion of a complete or partial withdrawal from Germany, calling this analysis routine.  "The Pentagon regularly reviews the attitude of the armed forces and conducts cost-benefit analyzes," he said in a statement. Germany is hosting the largest US presence in Europe – we remain deeply rooted in the common values and strong relations between our countries – we remain fully committed to our NATO Alliance and the NATO Alliance. "
Since the end of World War II The US troop presence in Germany was considered a bulwark against a possible Russian invasion of Europe and as Host venue for US operations in Africa and the Middle East.
Defense officials said that a cost analysis of options for change is being carried out at staff level to allow a broader discussion on the presence of US troops in Europe. As part of its regular analysis of the costs and justification for its troops around the world, the United States has drastically reduced its troop levels in Germany from the Cold War.
But persistent doubts in Europe about Trump's commitment to the Alliance You have even made the possibility of routine changes to American armed forces in Europe much stronger.
The implementation scenarios examined include a large-scale return of US troops stationed in Germany to the United States and a complete or partial resettlement of US troops to Poland in Germany – a NATO ally that has achieved the Alliance's defense objectives and whose leadership suits Trump better.
In recent months, Poland has proposed spending at least $ 2 billion to get a permanent US base. The US military already has a rotating force in Poland, while other Allies in the Baltic States are doing the same to prevent Russia's increasing aggression along the eastern flank of the Alliance.
European officials hope to emphasize the West unity at the NATO summit on 11 and 12 July. Trump continues to be dissatisfied that many NATO countries spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense, a target alliance to be achieved by 2024. The United States spends about 3.58 percent of its GDP on defense.
Although several US governments have urged Europe to spend more, Trump is focusing particularly on the balance sheet. He has been particularly critical of Merkel, in defense and in a number of other issues.
Last week, the White House frustration in Washington was in a dispute between Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and German Defense Minister Ursula von Leyen. Von der Leyen said the German budget projections called for an increase in defense spending to 1.5 percent of GDP by 2024. The White House was disappointed by Germany's efforts, officials said.
A senior NATO official said neither the Alliance headquarters nor individual member governments were informed of any Trump plans that addressed the problem Deduction or repositioning of American troops in Europe at the summit, although all are aware of Polish lobbying to place at least some components there. The official talked about the condition of anonymity to discuss a member government ahead of the summit.
The official said that Poland's offer is "peanuts" compared to US military investment in Germany, including "the value of 60 years of sunk costs in facilities such as the Landstuhl military health complex and Ramstein Air Base.
NATO Officials and others suggested that the cost analysis of the US presence in Germany and an opt-out of Trump's last winter's recall of leaked requests for military options with North Korea go to war "to scare the lives of every day and [North Korea] bring the negotiating table. "In this case, the official said, the goal could be to make Merkel more trouble while rattling the Alliance in general and positioning itself as a culprit.
US allies hosting permanent American military imprints, pay for a certain part of the costs in different ways, for example, Japan and South Korea n Cash deposits, according to a study from 2013, which Rand Corp. While Germany has prepared for the presence of US troops through benefits such as land, infrastructure and construction in addition to the waived tariffs and taxes.
The study estimated the data from 2002 based on estimates that Germany offset about 33 percent of the cost of US military deployed there. It is unclear how much would be saved by bringing everyone home, because the United States would still be responsible for paying them, in addition to housing and other personnel costs. At the same time, a large proportion of American troops in Germany are involved in the efforts of the US military outside Europe and are setting up operations in the nation.
The US military had reduced its presence in Europe for years prior to the annexation of Russia. In early 2014, neighboring Crimea's Crimea prompted a change in attitudes, with Washington wishing to deter Moscow from further attacks. The US and Allied forces began to make brigades through the Eastern members, and the US began returning equipment such as tanks and helicopters to the theater.
Trump's contempt for the alliance, which he declared outdated during his presidential campaign, is clearly focused on Germany, and especially on Merkel, including the latest tweets stating that she lost power at home.
Bolton met with von der Leyen and focused on the bottom line, more than a year after Trump tweeted in March 2017 that Germany owes "huge sums to NATO and the US needs more for the powerful and very expensive Defense that Germany offers to be paid! "
Trump's ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has also been wiped out This month he wants to "strengthen" European rights – a remark that is perceived by some European governments as threatening.
Democrats in the House of Lords support writing a letter this week, written by MP Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Who called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to fire Grenell. A US State Department official confirmed receipt of the letter, but did not comment on its content.
When Trump lashed out at NATO, he described the "Trilateral Trade Agreement", "worse than NAFTA," was also denounced at the Group 7 summit in Canada – allies were supported by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and to some extent by Pompeo comforted.
In a Senate hearing on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' budget on Wednesday, Pompeo spoke of "strong, unified Atlantic unity," even as "we have urged them to increase their willingness to support the NATO forces."
Pompeo added to the confusion of the American Embassy at a time when Trump promotes better relations with Russia Moscow, imposed on the annexation of Crimea.
"It is time for them to concern themselves so much with how we act against Russia" and "to convince them that the sanctions regime is important to achieve results that are in the best interest of Europe" said Pompeo.
Trump has considered why the alliance continues to marginalize Russia over the Crimea, and the proposal to include Russia in the G-7, Pompeo reiterated that "we reject the Russian occupation of Crimea and Georgia and that the government is the threat Recognizes Moscow for Eastern Europe. "
The United States under Trump would have increased its funds for NATO forces in the Baltic States and Poland. "I think this government is clearly ruthless towards Russia," said Pompeo. "I think that's undeniable."
The Pentagon's analysis in Europe is based on the fact that relations between Trump and Europe overthrew its decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, launch "tit-for-tat" measures and withdraw after the nuclear agreement With Iran, a pact in Europe was seen as a model for peaceful conflict resolution. The President's decision to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on 16 July brings a new twist to his trip to Europe, which includes a stopover in London.
Among the statements about the unity and indispensability of NATO – and the alarm bells Trump – the alliance is probably undergoing a tectonic change, and Trump could be as much his manifestation as his cause. Having lost its original cause for the end of the Cold War, it found new foundations for its existence during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, followed by a focus on Afghanistan and counter-terrorism. The revival of Russia as a threatening force in Europe has recently given the alliance a new purpose.
But the question of where the Western Defense Pact fits into a 21st century in which Europeans disagree with each other and with the US In issues of economics, trade and immigration, where the world is undergoing a fundamental reorientation with the rise Some of them have come through to consider a new agreement.
Missy Ryan and Greg Jaffe contributed to this report.