The joint operations center at U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. AFRICOM is in search for a new home for its headquarters, after it was ordered to draw up plans to relocate its headquarters as part of the Trump administration’s military drawdown in Germany, the command said on Friday July 30, 2020.
U.S. Africa Command has been told to plan to move out of Stuttgart. While it will likely take several months to develop options, consider locations, and come to a decision, the command has started the process, AFRICOMs Gen. Stephen Townsend said in the statement.
The new headquarters could see the Germany-based unit housing about 11,900 U.S. troops to relocate to somewhere else in Europe or to the United States, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday. The move Esper hinted is a strategic realignment of forces to better counter Russia.
Since 2018, President Donald Trump has been pushing for the U.S. to reduce its troop presence in Germany, saying that Berlin wasnt spending enough on defense. The U.S African Command, which oversees U.S. military efforts in Africa, operates alongside U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
“We’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills. It’s very simple. They’re delinquent,” Trump told reporters.
Of the troops leaving Germany, about 5,600 will be stationed elsewhere in Europe, while about 6,400 will come back to the United States.
The units location has long caused debate since it was established in 2007 by former President George W. Bush. The plan to move the headquarters to Africa caused a considerable political backlash from African leaders over concerns about the militarization of U.S. foreign policy toward the continent. Since then, Stuttgart was chosen as an interim headquarters, with the intention of selecting a permanent location later.
A relocation to Africa is not being considered, the command said, however, AFRICOM will look at options in Europe and the U.S. Regardless of the headquarters location, AFRICOM will continue to work with our African and other partners to address mutual interests, Townsend said.
We are very grateful to Germany for their partnership and serving as host to Headquarters U.S. Africa Command. He also mentioned that international cooperation is important to addressing mutual security challenges, especially in Africa.