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2021 defense funding bill blocks troop drawdowns in Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 calls for blocking planned drawdowns of U.S. troops in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 calls for blocking planned drawdowns of U.S. troops in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The final version of the United States' Fiscal Year 2021 defense bill includes no troop reductions in Germany, blocking President Donald Trump's demand.

It adds that additional opinion from other countries is required before the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is reduced.

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The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, "prevents reduction in the number of U.S. forces stationed in Germany below 34,500 until 120 days after the Secretary of Defense submits an assessment and planning regarding the implications for allies, costs, military families, deterrence, and other key issues," a 23-page summary, released on Thursday, says in part.

The Department of Defense is required by the bill "to submit detailed budget information to Congress on Operation Freedom Sentinel, specifically funds spent outside of Afghanistan that support operations in Afghanistan."

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The bill additionally allows Congress to withhold funds for Afghanistan troop reductions until the Pentagon explains the moves could impact U.S. security.

In July, the White House announced plans, within weeks, to remove most of the 36,000 U.S. troops from Germany, leaving about 11,000.

Trump cited Germany's alleged delinquency in paying NATO fees and committing less than two percent of its gross domestic product to defense.

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"The United States has been taken advantage of on trade and on military and on everything else for many years, and I'm here and I've been straightening it out," Trump said at the time.

In November, Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced a U.S. plan to withdraw 2,500 troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by Jan. 15, 2021.

"I am formally announcing that we will implement President [Donald] Trump's orders to continue our repositioning of forces from those two countries," Miller said.

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Although Trump has threatened to veto the long-simmering NDAA package, the bill is expected to be passed with bipartisan support and could be voted into law with a veto-proof majority.

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