US To Station 500 More Troops In Germany This Year

In February, President Biden halted the Trump administration's planned withdrawal of American troops from Germany.

The US Defense Secretary has said that 500 more American military personnel will be deployed to Germany in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties.

General Lloyd Austin is on a visit to Europe and made the announcement on Tuesday after talks with his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

"I briefed the minister on our intention to permanently station approximately 500 additional US personnel in the Wiesbaden area as early as this fall," said Gen Austin.

"These forces will strengthen deterrence and defence in Europe, and they will augment our existing abilities to prevent conflict, and if necessary, to fight and win."

The United States has more than 30,000 personnel stationed in Germany.

In February, US President Joe Biden announced the US would be ending the withdrawal of troops from Germany, a direct reversal of the Trump administration's plan to bring more than 9,000 personnel home from the European country.

Last year, Mr Trump criticised Germany for failing to pay enough for its own defence, calling the country "delinquent" when talking about its finanicial contribution to NATO.

Watch: Trump criticises 'delinquent' Germany in June 2020.

The latest announcement comes as part of a larger global posture review of the US military, as Mr Biden seeks to ease any doubts allies and partners may have about American policies moving forward, and also amid amid reports of a Russian military build up on its border with Ukraine.

In recent decades, the country has hosted key American military facilities and has offered a transit point for personnel deploying to and from the Middle East.

The US Defense Secretary's visit to Germany was the first to the country by any of President Biden's administration. 

Wiesbaden, the German city where the American troop expansion will be focused this autumn, is home to the headquarters of US Army Europe and Africa.

Elements of the British Army and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) are still present in Germany, at the Normandy Barracks and at the Athlone Barracks in Paderborn in the North Rhine-Westphalia region.

The remaining units will relocate to new facilities in Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, in the final phase of the Army Basing Programme.

According to the British Army, 82% of the 20,000 service personnel based in Germany ten years ago have relocated back to the United Kingdom since 2010.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review of the same year stated that there was no longer "any operational requirement for UK forces to be based there" and set the target to "withdraw all forces from Germany by 2020".