Army commanders rethinking plan to cut US troops in Europe, want to leave at current 42,000
Feb 17, 2009 15:33 EST
The U.S. Army is again reconsidering its plan for drawing down troops in Europe and thinking of leaving more troops there than earlier planned.
Gen. Carter Ham, the head of Army troops in Europe, said Tuesday that because U.S. troops in Europe have been used so much in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they cannot participate in exercises with European allies as much as he'd like.
There are 42,000 soldiers in Europe, but a plan already approved by the military would reduce that number to 32,000 in the next few years.
Ham told a Pentagon news conference that he is recommending leaving the force at its current size, a recommendation that would have to be approved by superiors.
He said the force in Europe must be able to stay engaged and exercise with allies to build partnerships.
The idea of cutting troops dramatically in Europe was part of former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's initiative to transform the military into a leaner, more cost-effective force. Other commanders have said since then that parts of the plan should be reconsidered.
Along with the original plan to cut the Army presence in Europe from 62,000 to 28,000, the idea also was to reduce the Navy there from 35,000 to 25,000, and the Air Force from 15,000 to 8,000.
On the Net:
European Command http://www.eucom.mil
Source: AP News