Brits to shut Army bases in Germany – bring their troops home

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond: “The return of the troops from Germany marks the end of an era”

Four Army bases are to close as part of a shake-up to accommodate thousands of troops returning from Germany…Claro Barracks in North Yorkshire, Howe in Kent, Craigiehall in Edinburgh and Cawdor in Pembrokeshire will be shut…Parts of Edinburgh’s Redford barracks, Forthside in Stirling and Copthorne in Shropshire will also close.

Returning forces will be stationed around seven sites, including Salisbury Plain, Edinburgh and Leuchars, Catterick and Colchester…The other sites are Aldershot, Stafford and the East Midlands.

There has been a British army presence in Germany for nearly 70 years.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the return of troops from Germany marked the end of an era, and thanked the German government and people for their “material and moral” support…

He said the changes overall would save £240m a year in running costs as soldiers are moved into “clusters” in key locations, and the re-organisation bill would be £1.8bn. A one time charge.

Around £1bn of the funding will go towards 1,900 new houses for service families and accommodation for 7,800 single soldiers. Another £800m will be spent on infrastructure and refurbishment of bases…

Under the 2010 strategic defence review, the government announced it wanted to withdraw all 20,000 troops in Germany, plus their families, by 2020.

Since then, about 4,000 troops have already moved back to the UK…

The pull-out has been accelerated because there were bigger cuts to the Army than originally planned, saving money which then could be used for relocation.

The government says the changes will provide savings and efficiencies for the Army, and certainty for personnel and their families.

The savings for the United States to do something similar would be greater. Our troops are scattered around the whole planet – requiring not only greater annual transport costs but similarly greater costs to supply them with essentials.

Given that we have more than 700 bases in over 170 countries, the savings realized from bringing those troops home – put them to work doing something constructive like rebuilding infrastructure – would be even more dramatic than the British program. Of course, they’re actually going ahead and doing it – while the White House and Congress manage to avoid even discussion of the idea.

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