The additional troops are a “display of our continued commitment to NATO and our collective resolve to support European security,” according to a statement issued Friday by U.S. Army Europe, based in Wiesbaden. The new forces will be on top of the roughly 33,000 American forces already stationed in Germany.
Officials chose to activate new units in Germany, rather than relocating existing ones across the Atlantic, to create the envisioned boost in combat power, according to the command. The new units include a field artillery brigade headquarters, two multiple-launch rocket system battalions, and a short-range air defense battalion.
Completion of the plus-up is expected by September 2020.
The moves reflect a plan by the Army to “reconstitute the equivalent of division-level combat power,” Col. Terry Anderson, who was the U.S. defense attache in Berlin until last month, told Defense News. The artillery and air defense forces would round out such a force package in conjunction with units already stationed in the country, he added.
The new troop commitment comes only months after the Trump administration was said to consider a reassessment of the U.S. footprint in Germany, as reported by The Washington Post in late June.
Officials in Berlin seemed unfazed by the report at the time, privately saying that plans were already underway with the Pentagon toward an actual increase in troop numbers.
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, issued a statement on Friday thanking “the people of Germany for the incredible spirit and partnership in welcoming all the American men and women lucky enough” to be stationed in Germany.
“Americans are committed to strengthening the transatlantic alliance and President [Donald] Trump’s promise to increase U.S. defense capabilities means the alliance is stronger today,” Grenell wrote.
Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, and on U.S.-Europe cooperation and multi-national investments in defense and global security. Previously he served as managing editor for Defense News. He is based in Cologne, Germany.