The US will completely station “approximately 500 additional US personnel in the Wiesbaden area” of Germany and can be on the bottom “as early as fall,” Austin mentioned throughout a information convention in Berlin.
“This planned increase in US personnel underscores our commitment to Germany, and to the entire NATO alliance,” he added.
In his announcement Tuesday, Austin mentioned the brand new personnel in Germany “will strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe, and they will augment our existing abilities to prevent conflict.”
He mentioned the forces would “create more space capabilities, more cyber and more electronic warfare capabilities in Europe” and “greatly improve our ability to surge forces at a moment’s notice to defend our allies.”
Asked if this was a message to Russia, Austin replied, “Let me assure you that it’s a message to NATO, and that message is that we support NATO to the fullest extent.”
“And most importantly, we value the relationship with our partner here in Germany. And so we will continue to strengthen our partnership and our alliance,” he mentioned.
Germany’s Minister of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer welcomed the announcement of an extra 500 US troops stationed in Germany as “happy news” and mentioned the US’ dedication to NATO is “a crucial pillar for our freedom and peace.”
“Our cooperation is all the more important, important in times where the security and defense architecture has come under pressure in many parts of the world,” she mentioned showing alongside Austin Tuesday.
Austin will proceed his abroad journey this week, becoming a member of US Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Brussels to meet with NATO allies.
Austin plans to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on “how the Alliance is tackling destabilizing behavior by Russia, a rising China, terrorism, and global challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change,” in accordance to the Pentagon.
NCS’s Samantha Beech and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.