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Biden to freeze Germany drawdown

President Biden will announce Thursday a global review of U.S. military force posture and freeze any troop withdrawals from Germany in the meantime, national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanStudy group recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal Burma coup poses early test for Biden foreign policy Xi Jinping steps up the pressure on Biden — will Kim Jong Un join the fray? MORE said.

Biden’s announcement will come during an address at the State Department on Thursday afternoon, Sullivan said at a White House press briefing.

Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: New START extended for five years | Austin orders ‘stand down’ to tackle extremism | Panel recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal Pentagon chief orders militarywide ‘stand-down’ to tackle elusive issue of extremism Navy unveils nearly 60 recommendations to counter racism, improve diversity MORE will lead the review, which will focus on “making sure that our global force posture is consistent with our national security and diplomatic priorities,” Sullivan said.

The Pentagon has telegraphed the force posture review and freeze in drawing down from Germany, but Biden’s speech will be the first time he confirms the move.

Former President TrumpDonald Trump Pelosi pushing Newsom to pick Schiff for next California AG: report Palm Beach town attorney says Trump should be able to live at Mar-a-Lago Trump helipad at Mar-a-Lago to soon be demolished MORE ordered a drawdown of nearly 12,000 U.S. troops from Germany as retribution for what he described as Berlin’s “delinquency” on contributions to NATO.

NATO allies agreed in 2014 to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024, but Germany is not on track to meet that goal.

Under Trump’s plan, which had yet to be carried out before he left office, a little more than half of the 11,900 troops leaving Germany would come back to the United States while the rest would redeploy elsewhere in Europe.

Trump administration officials in the Pentagon had insisted the drawdown was meant to realign forces to be more nimble for current threats, but Trump himself repeatedly said he ordered the drawdown to punish Germany for not spending more on defense.

Trump’s plan took the U.S. ally by surprise and was lambasted by lawmakers in both parties as ill-thought out and a gift to Russia, which U.S. forces in Europe are meant to deter.

Biden, though, has pledged to reinvigorate traditional U.S. alliances, and Sullivan said a theme of Biden’s State Department speech will be “revitalizing America’s alliances.”

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said last week Austin would undertake a worldwide review of U.S. force posture, including in Germany, “as you would expect him to do when he first comes into office.”

Kirby stressed that no decisions have been made on U.S. troop levels in Germany, but that Austin pledged in a call with his German counterpart that “whatever decision we make, we will do it in consultation with her and her government. There won’t be any surprises.”

On Wednesday, U.S. European Command chief Gen. Tod Wolters also said planning for Trump’s withdrawal has paused amid the review.

“At this very moment, every single one of those options, they are all on hold,” Wolters told reporters. “They will all be reexamined from cradle to grave.” 

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