June 30 (UPI) -- The Pentagon released a statement Tuesday in support of President Donald Trump's proposal to reassign 9,500 troops currently stationed in Germany.
According to the statement, which comes on the heels of reporting that Congress is taking steps to rebuke the president's plan, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley briefed the president on the proposal Monday.
"The proposal that was approved not only meets the President's directive, it will also enhance Russian deterrence, strengthen NATO, reassure Allies, improve U.S. strategic flexibility and U.S. European Command's operational flexibility, and take care of our service members and their families," the Pentagon's statement said.
The press release also said Pentagon leaders intend to brief Congressional defense committees "in the coming weeks" and will also consult with NATO allies.
"We will be providing timely updates to potentially affected personnel, their families and communities as planning progresses," the Department of Defense statement said.
Earlier this month the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Germany confirmed plans to reduce the number of American troops stationed permanently in Germany to 25,000.
Under the troop revision, about 9,500 troops will be removed from the country where more U.S. troops are stationed than in any other European country as part of a decades-old agreement.
The plan had been criticized by conservatives in the United States and Germany, and this week a bipartisan group of senators led by Utah Sen. mitt Romney proposed an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would freeze troop numbers in country.
Congressional Democrats, including House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., have also criticized the plan, saying it seems strategically unsound.
On Tuesday Smith recommended Congress block the proposal until the administration makes its case.
"It is possible that there is a scenario where repositioning troops out of Germany is in our national security interests. The president has not made that case to date, the [Department of Defense] has not made that case to date, and the president is doing it in a very haphazard manner," Smith said.