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AFRICOM in Germany

The US military's new "Africa Command" is starting from scratch at a Germany facility, writes Charlie Coon in Stars & Stripes:
AFRICOM, located at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, is going to grow steadily in people and resources, even though it might be located at Kelley for just a few years. The military hopes to establish a permanent headquarters on the African continent.
The Atlantic Review has previously reported that Stryker Cavalry Regiment Moved to Germany and that the Rhein-Main Air Base (famous since the Berlin Airlift) was closed, but Ramstein and Spangdahlem were upgraded. Contrary to many assumptions after the disagreements about Iraq in 2003, the US military is not pulling out of Germany.

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JW-Atlantic Review on :

Does anybody know, to what extent -- if any -- the number of US troops in Germany was reduced since 2003?

Pat Patterson on :

The last official and published count is from 2003 and it lists 69,350 stationed in Germany. The next year the NATO Suprmeme Commander Gen. James Jones stated that there were over 70,000 servicemen and another 70,000 dependents. It appears that the addition of one of the new Stryker Brigades to Germany has actually increased the number of servicemen to 73,500. Maybe Condi's apocryphal comment regarding Germany was really true.

Pat Patterson on :

Here's the link to the most current number of US servicemen stationed in Germany. Please note that the Navy, the Air Force and the Marines(no kidding) are included in this total. This and the earlier figure always included all servicemen stationed in Germany not just the Army. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/deploy.htm

Pat Patterson on :

[url]http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/deploy.htm[/url] I'm not even going to apologize for those kind of mistakes anymore.

joe on :

Actually the US continues to down size it forces in Germany. In 2005 there were 62,000 US Army personal in Europe. This number in the current realignment phase will be reduced to 24,000. This is in all of Europe not just Germany. Two more battalions will be moved from Germany to Italy by 2010. Vicenza is to become the most important European base for US deployments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Current force structure planning calls for only 2 combat brigades to be stationed in Germany. One of these, the Stryker brigade, is now being called a team. This means it will be either a heavy brigade or light. I would speculate it will be light sharing some assets of the other brigade. These decisions were all made after 2003. What will remain in Germany for the near term (0 -5 years) will be mostly C3I and logistical support. Once suitable work arounds have been established for these missions in all likelihood these too will be reduced. GEN Jones the former commander of EUCOM was a driving force behind the establishment of AFRICOM and in fact EUCOM was performing most of the functions of this new command from its existing staff. It is only logical that this new headquarters be stood up in Stuttgart. First because of personal and secondly because excess basing already exists to support it. This headquarters will probably be assigned to its region of responsibility once bilateral agreements are reached. It will then deploy from Stuttgart. One indicator of future US force structure in Germany will be when the US Army starts handing back to the Germans bases located in Heidelberg. As the force structure realignments in Germany continue there is less and less reason/need to keep these installations. The functions and missions carried on there can easily fit into the base structure at Wiesbaden. The US Army intends to reduce it “footprint” in Germany from 13 areas to 4 in the current tranche. This will also free up almost 4,000 military personal from the Heidelberg area for reassignment. A second indicator will be the realignments which take place within the USAF. These have been back burner issues at present because the current and near term need is to realign the US Army to increase combat units. The USAF realignments should occur in the next tranche. This will probably focus more on reassignment of units than the transfer of bases as the USAF has only 2 bases in Germany. Some of the assets may be assigned to new forward bases or to Aviano AB, Italy. These decisions might coincide with efforts to establish the “lily pad” concept of basing in Eastern Europe in both NATO and non NATO nations. All of these moves by the US are completely logical from whatever perspective one would like to view them for both the near term and long term. It even considers the possible unwinding of NATO but retains the flexibility to meet the need of the US to have forward deploy forces. So if you want to think the US is not pulling out of Germany you are fooling yourself. You can chose to view this as nothing more than the US is realigning it forces to bases which gives it better access to areas of interest.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Joe, Thank you very much for the detailed comment. I would love to write a new post about this to inform our readers about the shifts. I would appreciate a few links to some sources regarding these plans and the current number of troops. Pat has sent me this link about this story from February 2003: "Pentagon plans NATO blitz on Germany by pulling out": "General Jones told senators attending a security conference in Munich that the 70,000 US troops garrisoned in Germany, with 70,000 dependants, were an unwieldy, expensive relic of the past." [url]http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/02/11/1044927598982.html[/url] For the new post, I would just need the current number of US troops in Germany and the plans for the future reductions, ideally specific timelines. Anything without timelines, looks more like ideas rather than plans to me. Wow, this would be a great team project. I will give credit to everyone of course.

Don S on :

So long, Farewell, Auf Weidersein, Goodbye!

Don S on :

Trying to run an African command from Stuttgart seems a brain-damaged idea to me. It's just as bad as trying to run such a thing from the US. African facilities are needed, I think. In South Africa if possible.

Pat Patterson on :

The days of the general viewing the battle on a hill surrounded by aides, cadets and messengers is a thing of the past. General of the Army George Marshall led the American Armed Forces quite capably from Washington DC. and that turned out very well. I fail to see how putting the command and control structure of AFRICOM into any country, that is still politically unstable and lacks the neccessary infrastructure, could serve America's interests other than as a publicity ploy. There are currently no countries in Africa that have both of those requirements.

2020 on :

Smells like Nigeria... A must read: [url=http://www.prairienet.org/acas/military/military06.html]U.S. MILITARY PROGRAMS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, 2005-2007[/url] More coverage in my blog.

Pilar Gonzalo on :

I thought that the article was about AFRICOM, the International Council of African Museums (http://www.africom.museum) What about featuring them in your next issue?

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