The Trump administration announced plans Wednesday to withdraw almost 12,000 troops from Germany, a sweeping continentwide reorganization that has provoked bipartisan congressional opposition and widespread dismay in Europe. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told a Pentagon briefing that the move would benefit Washington’s strategic interests abroad, strengthening NATO and deterring Russia, and equipping the military for “a new era of great power competition.”
US President Donald Trump has approved a plan to withdraw 9,500 American troops from bases in Germany, the Pentagon says. The move would reduce the number of US troops stationed in the country from about 34,500 to 25,000. President Trump has previously accused Germany of not contributing enough to Nato. The US move – which was first mooted in early June – has caused concern in Germany and among other Nato allies worried over possible Russian expansionism.
The US must research new technologies, such as a layer of sensors in space, to find and destroy incoming missiles, a Pentagon report says. The Missile Defence Review says the US should revamp its missile defense programme to combat foreign threats. The review comes months after an expert commission published a sober report on President Trump’s defense strategy which argued the US “margin of superiority” is now “profoundly diminished”.
Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday the plan to create a sixth branch of the US military called the ‘Space Force’ as soon as 2020. Pence called the branch ‘an idea whose time has come.’ The branch requires approval by Congress. There is strong opposition from the Air Force, which could lose some responsibilities.
The Defense Department has temporarily grounded all F-35 fighter jets following the September 28th crash in South Carolina. An ongoing investigation into the crash shows that a fuel tube may have been faulty. Inspections are expected to be completed within the next two days. The grounding affects over 200 jets.
The United States treated 11 of its troops for symptoms of concussion after an Iranian missile attack on an Iraqi base where U.S. forces were stationed, the U.S. military said on Thursday, after initially saying no service members were hurt. President Donald Trump and the U.S. military had said there were no casualties after the strike on the Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and a facility in its northern Kurdish region.
The Pentagon announced new restrictions on the use of electronics with GPS software such as fitness trackers by American troops in combat zones on Monday. The devices themselves will not be banned, but geolocation features which could reveal location will be required to be disabled.
The sentencing of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been delayed due to recent remarks by President Donald Trump about the case. Although not allowed to comment on the matter, Trump stated ‘But I think people have heard my comments in the past.’ Bergdahl’s defense argued that the statement will not allow an unbiased trial.
The U.S. shot down an Iranian drone over southern Syria on Tuesday. This is the second time in the span of a week that the U.S. military has shot down a pro-Syrian aircraft. Further, amid US-Russia tensions in Syria, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet has flown within five feet of a US Air Force reconnaissance aircraft on Monday over the Baltic Sea. The Pentagon have said that all strikes are an act of self-defense.
An American military aircraft patrolling the East China sea had a close encounter with two Chinese fighter jets after they flew too close and “unprofessionally” according to a spokeswoman for the Pacific Air Forces, Lt. Col. Lori Hodge. The United States has formally issued a complaint to China through diplomatic and military channels, she said in a statement. The “speeds and proximity” of the two Chinese planes, coupled with the “maneuvers” of one of the pilots, raised the concerns, she said.