US to redeploy 70,000 troops

The United States plans to withdraw about 70,000 soldiers from Europe and Asia in a major restructuring of military forces.

    There are 200,000 US troops in Europe, the Pacific and Asia

    According to US officials on Saturday, the move is prompted by the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the "War on Terror".
       
    President George Bush is to unveil the realignment in a speech on Monday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cincinnati, said the officials - who spoke on condition of anonymity.
       
    They confirmed a report in British newspaper Financial Times on Saturday of a total reduction of about 70,000 troops in US deployments overseas.

    Citing people briefed on the plan, FT said two-thirds of the reduction would be made in Europe, mostly in Germany.
       
    Global deployments

    There are more than 100,000 US troops in Europe, including about 70,000 in Germany, and another 100,000 in the Pacific region and Asia.

    About 150,000 troops are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
       

    Bush may announce major
    restructuring on Monday

    A senior administration official travelling with Bush in Portland, Oregon, said the president "will be discussing next week how the United States will structure its military capabilities to meet the threats of the 21st century with new technologies and new capabilities".
           
    Washington announced earlier this year that it was removing about 12,500 of the 37,000 troops stationed in South Korea for decades and sending many of them to Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Eastern Europe deployment

    The new proposed move includes plans to use bases in Eastern European countries of the former Soviet bloc as transit points to send US forces to areas of interest such as the Middle East and northern Africa.
       
    While many troops would be brought home, sophisticated weaponry, including fighter planes, would be sent overseas to some bases to make up for the smaller number of ground troops.
      
    The US Air Force, for example, is currently discussing plans to deploy heavy bombers and new F/A-22 jets to Guam in the Pacific to address possible future threats from North Korea and China. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


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