The new US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin thanked Germany for the deployment of American troops on its territory in a telephone conversation with his German counterpart.
This has prompted speculation that US President Joe Biden may reverse the withdrawal, which is being carried out on the orders of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Austin plans to conduct a global analysis of US troop deployments, including last year’s Trump order to withdraw about a third of the 34,000 US troops in Germany.
“Minister Austin expressed gratitude to Germany for continuing to serve as an excellent host,” the Pentagon said in a statement following Austin’s telephone call with German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
According to Trump’s plan, only slightly less than 6 thousand of the approximately 12 thousand American troops leaving Germany are to be redeployed to the Black Sea region, and some may be gradually sent to the Baltic countries.
It is assumed that other units leaving Germany will be transferred to Italy on a permanent basis, and the headquarters of the US armed forces in Europe will be transferred from German Stuttgart to Belgium.
Trump’s decision to withdraw troops took Germany by surprise.
A US spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Austin had assured Crump-Karrenbauer that the US would consult with Germany on any future action it took.