On 24 January, the US put 8,500 troops on “high alert” for potential deployment to eastern Europe amid fears that Russia may be poised to invade Ukraine.
There are currently over 64,000 US troops stationed in Europe – over half (35,457) of which are in Germany alone, according to analysis of US Department of Defense data by academics at Boise State and Kansas State universities in the US. Although the US troop presence in Europe is much diminished from the Cold War, when the number of service personnel peaked at over 400,000 in 1957, the US retains a significant presence on the continent. Europe currently accounts for almost 40 per cent of US service personnel stationed overseas.
The US global military footprint has in recent years become an increasingly contentious issue in Congress, with a number of analyses drawing attention to the large cost of this overseas presence and America’s wars.
In 2020, the former president, Donald Trump, announced the US was to reduce its presence in Germany by some 9,500 troops, but the proposed move was overturned in 2021 by the Biden administration before implementation.