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BAMBERG, Germany — U.S.-German training efforts are shrinking in Germany due to the shifting of U.S. forces in Europe and the deployment downrange of both countries’ troops, according to military officials.

Since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military officials have seen places like the Hammelburg German Infantry School, also known as the "Home of the Infantry" for the German army, less frequented by U.S. troops for training.

The school in Hammelburg, which features the "Boonladen" Urban Warfare Training Center, has been used by U.S. Army units in Schweinfurt for about 60 years since American forces arrived there, said Mike Cormier, joint forces international training liaison in Schweinfurt.

"It is difficult to say where the future of the German-American training relationship is going," said Cormier, who has worked in the American and German military communities for 28 years.

The 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team began moving from Schweinfurt to Grafenwöhr last year and is scheduled to complete its move in fiscal year 2010.

Cormier expects that the training facility will be used less by U.S. troops as the infantry brigade departs.

"Of course there was more international training going on before the Iraq war, compared to now," said Cormier. "That’s because both armies had more time and more units, before the first gulf war."

The only way to keep the coalition partnership is through communication, which officials are finding hard to do with units and soldiers constantly on the move as a result of deployment and relocation efforts.

Maj. Nathan Hurt, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command maneuver liaison officer in Germany, said liaisons such as Cormier are important to the success of the coalition training effort.

"After the drastic reductions, it is hard to maintain relationships," said Hurt. "You have German commanders who want to have a relationship with an American unit because they had one when they were lieutenants and now they can’t, or it is very difficult to."

The German commanders want to work with us "because we are North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and we have the most experience in Iraq and Afghanistan warfare," said Hurt. "They want to learn from our lessons learned."

Officials with U.S. Army Europe and the European Command stressed the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with allies despite the fluctuating strength of units available for mulitnational training.

U.S. troops will continue to conduct combined training when those forces are available, said Maj. Kevin Inglin, a USAREUR spokesperson, calling the relationship with German counterparts "outstanding."

Hurt said it’s important to work together "not because the Soviets are going to come invade Western Europe," but because of Afghanistan and any future conflicts.

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