Support our mission

STUTTGART, Germany — If President Bush says anything new on Monday about changes to the U.S. military’s global posture, it would simply be the next step in a process that would take years, according to two Europe-based military spokesmen.

“EUCOM, like the other unified commands, has submitted its recommendations last year with respect to the global posture review,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rick Haupt, a spokesman for the Stuttgart-based U.S. European Command, or EUCOM. “We’re awaiting the outcome of the decision-making process in Washington.”

Haupt declined to speculate on what the president might say during his speech on Monday to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cincinnati. The Pentagon has scheduled a briefing for reporters on Monday afternoon to discuss the topic.

A White House official told Stars and Stripes that the president is expected to announce his plan to pull up to 70,000 U.S. troops out of Europe and Asia.

Col. Roger King, a spokesman for Heidelberg, Germany-based U.S. Army Europe, said he did not expect the president would be revealing anything new or specific that would immediately affect U.S. military personnel in Europe.

“This is just a continuation of the process that’s been going on for a while,” King said.

However, King said it would be a mistake to link events such as the recent closing of the U.S. base at Bad Aibling, Germany, and deactivation of Wackenheim, Germany-based 1st Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery to the larger global picture.

“You’ve got closings and consolidations that go on in our normal way of doing business,” King said.

As proof that vast changes were not imminent in Europe, a U.S. military official in Europe familiar with the transformation process noted that no money was earmarked for transformation in next year’s Department of Defense budget. The $417.5 billion spending bill was approved by Congress and signed into law by the president earlier this month.

The official, who spoke to Stars and Stripes on the condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon is determining how much it will cost the U.S. military to move many of its troops and assets to eastern Europe and Africa as well as back to the United States.

Specific transformation-related plans for 2006-2011 and their costs would start to be put together this winter, “to the best of my knowledge,” the official said.

All the plans, he added, are contingent on Congress’ approval and financing and on successful negotiations with current and potential future host nations.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up