The Pentagon will bring home one of its four Europe-based brigade combat teams, a change from its 2004 plan to withdraw two of the units and reduce U.S. forces in Europe from 100,000 to 60,000.
The original plan was suspended over concerns that it would hamper the military’s ability to respond to trouble in Africa and the Middle East, and leave it unable to fulfill its commitments to NATO and to engage effectively with its allies.
The brigade combat team would move in 2015, when the department projects a reduced demand on the nation’s ground forces, according to Friday’s announcement. The decision continues the military’s post-Cold War drawdown. In the last five years, DOD has consolidated overseas bases into five main hubs, reports Stars and Stripes. Last June, the Army said it would return 22 installations to Germany by 2015.
On Monday, Georgia Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, along with Rep. Jack Kingston, announced they had asked Army Secretary John McHugh to station the returning heavy brigade combat team at Fort Stewart, where $78 million in investments had been made in anticipation of hosting a new combat brigade in 2009 before DOD reversed the decision.