Late Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Obama is preparing to significantly cutback on America's military presence in Europe.
The reductions in U.S. Army forces, which have not been formally announced, are likely to concern European officials, who worry that the smaller American presence reflects a lessening of interest in the decades-long U.S. partnership with NATO allies in Europe.
Top Pentagon officials have sought to allay those concerns by telling their NATO allies in private meetings that the U.S. will continue to rotate Army units through Europe on training missions to augment the presence provided by the remaining two brigades.
“In the briefing we’ve been giving the Europeans, we have made clear that there is going to be this rotational presence there that will be conducting exercises,” Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in an interview.
“As a matter of fact, they will probably see more of the Americans under the new strategy because the brigades that were there were actually fighting in Afghanistan and weren’t even there …What you are going to have is two [brigades] plus this large rotational presence that is going to be there."The president's plan is consistent with his goal of cutting military spending overall. Of course with this being an election year, one can see that this story largely is going to be framed by opponents as a further example of the Obama administration making the U.S. less safe.
Hmmm, I wonder how Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin will react to the news?