The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it will send 500 more U.S. troops to Germany, reversing former President Donald Trump’s troop withdrawal policies.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made the announcement during a trip to Berlin on Tuesday and said the troops will be stationed this fall “to strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe,” according to Axios.
The announcement comes two months after Biden froze the withdrawal plans so the Pentagon could conduct a review of how American forces are deployed around the world, The New York Times reported.
Trump had sought to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany last summer, accusing the nation of “delinquent” payments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“It’s very simple. They’re delinquent,” Trump said at the time, according to Military.com.
He added that Germany failed to spend at least 2 percent of its GDP on defense, “so we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills.”
House Republicans wrote a letter to Trump in June 2020, asking him to reconsider his plan for fear of further Russian aggression in the area.
“In Europe, the threats posed by Russia have not lessened, and we believe that signs of a weakened U.S. commitment to NATO will encourage further Russian aggression and opportunism,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the White House, Axios reported.
“In addition, the overall limit on troops would prevent us from conducting the exercises that are necessary for the training and readiness of our forces and those of our allies.”
In addition to removing the troops, the policy would have placed a cap of 25,000 troops in Germany at one time.
“The troop limit would also significantly reduce the number of U.S. forces that can flow through Germany for deployment to bases around the world, causing serious logistical challenges,” Republican lawmakers wrote.
Germany’s defense minister was given a 2031 deadline to meet NATO’s goal of spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“We always knew Trump would lash out when he is under pressure domestically, but we thought he would first pull out of Afghanistan,” a senior German defense official said.
“This move will not help friends of the U.S. in Germany who are working hard to preserve the trans-Atlantic relationship, but it will boost the anti-American sentiment that has been spreading here.”
Austin is currently on an overseas trip to meet with U.S. allies and military leaders in Israel, Germany, NATO Headquarters in Belgium and the United Kingdom, according to the Defense Department.
“The president’s office, of course, made a request to speak with Vladimir Putin. We have not received an answer yet and we very much hope that this is not a refusal of dialogue,” Ukrainian presidential spokeswoman Iuliia Mendel told Reuters on Monday.