U.S. names German bases to close

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Saturday, July 30, 2005

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has announced that eleven bases in Bavaria are to close by 2007, with two further bases being handed over later. The closures are the first step that will see 50,000 troops withdrawn from Europe and South Korea. The U.S. has 181,061 troops stationed in Western Europe and the Far East.

NATO has been present in Germany since the end of World War II and its presence played an important role in the Cold War, when Germany was split into West Germany and East Germany.

The U.S. and U.K. are the only remaining powers that maintain large forces in the country. The U.S. presently has 75,603 personnel in southern Germany while the British have some 55,000 personnel based in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony as part of British Forces Germany.

It is planned that the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division will move back to the U.S. in 2006. Some units of V Corps and the U.S. Army Europe will also be returned. It is estimated that the move will affect 6,100 soldiers, 11,000 family members, 1,000 Department of the Army civilians and 1,000 locally employed civilians.

The DoD said in its statement that: "These changes are part of the Department of Defense’s overall plan (the Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy) to transform the military to increase strategic responsiveness and flexibility in the face of current and anticipated future threats, and are the result of extensive consultation with our German allies."