U.S. and European troops carried out annual training operations in Bavaria, Monday, August 10, weeks after the U.S. military announced their intention to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany.
READ MORE: The United States is pulling almost 12,000 troops from Germany, unleashing a torrent of criticism against U.S. President Donald Trump, both at home and abroad, even as senior U.S. and NATO officials defended the move as a strategic necessity.
U.S. defense officials announced the redeployment Wednesday, July 29, saying it was the result of a monthslong evaluation of the country’s military posture worldwide meant to enhance Washington’s ability to both deter and respond to threats from major powers such as Russia and China.
"These changes will achieve the core principles of enhancing U.S. and NATO deterrence of Russia, strengthening NATO, reassuring allies and improving U.S. strategic flexibility," U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters Wednesday, denying the changes were meant to punish Germany.
"This is something we want to do. We feel very good about [it]," Esper added. "We want to get there as quickly as possible."
But even as Esper and other key U.S. military officials defended the redeployments as strategic, Trump told reporters at the White House that the partial U.S. pullout from Germany, expected to begin in the next several weeks, came down to money.