Russia‘s takeover of Crimea could prompt a review the US military presence in Europe, which has declined steadily since the end of the Cold War, a senior Pentagon official said today.
“While we do not seek confrontation with Russia, its actions in Europe and Eurasia may require the United States to re-examine our force posture in Europe and our requirement for future deployments, exercises, and training in the region,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet.
Some 67,000 US military members are currently stationed on the European continent, mainly in Germany (40,000), Italy (11,000) and Britain (9,500).
When the Soviet Union fell in late 1991, the total presence stood at 285,000.
Chollet, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, did not specify what such a re-examination could entail at a time when the Pentagon faces budget cuts and is seeking to redeploy part of its resources to the Asia Pacific region as part of a so-called pivot strategy.