US to remove troops from 15 European bases

Pentagon says changes will save about $500m a year and mostly affect bases in the UK and Portugal.

    The net loss of US troops in the UK would be about 2,000, the Pentagon said [AFP]
    The net loss of US troops in the UK would be about 2,000, the Pentagon said [AFP]

    The US has announced it is restructuring its forces in Europe in a move that will take US troops out of about 15 bases over several years.

    The US Department of Defence said it would be ending operations at bases mostly in the UK and Portugal, in changes that it said would save about $500m a year,

    The department said it would divest RAF Mildenhall in the northeast of London, home to tanker, reconnaissance and special operations aircraft, and gradually withdraw 3,200 military personnel and their families.

    The reductions at RAF Mildenhall will be partially offset later in the decade when the Pentagon adds 1,200 personnel and two squadrons of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at nearby RAF Lakenheath, home to the US 48th Fighter Wing.

    The net loss of US troops in the UK would be about 2,000, the Pentagon said, the biggest of the consolidation moves in Europe in terms of personnel.

    Several facilities in Germany would be closed, but overall US troop numbers were expected to rise by a few hundred.

    The moves come with the Pentagon under orders to reduce projected spending by nearly $1 trillion over a decade.

    In a bid to curb costs, the department has repeatedly asked Congress to close some facilities in the US.

    However, Congress has resisted any closures, with some politicians telling defence officials to cut excess facilities in Europe first.

    The US has more than 64,000 troops stationed in Europe, most in Germany, Italy and the UK.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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