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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 July 2005, 00:20 GMT 01:20 UK
US announces German base closures
US troops
The major shake-up will affect thousands of troops and families
US troops will pull out of 11 bases in southern Germany in 2007 as part of a shake-up of US forces around the world.

The bases, mainly in Bavaria, are home to the 1st Infantry Division which will return to the US in 2006, the defence department said in a statement.

It will be replaced by smaller forces able to react rapidly to new threats.

Up to 70,000 US troops currently in Europe and Asia are to be redeployed in accordance with plans announced by President George W Bush last year.

The US has almost 100,000 soldiers stationed in Western Europe and about 80,000 in the Far East.

Germany is host to the biggest US overseas contingent outside Iraq.

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Five sites in Kitzingen in Bavaria will be handed back to German authorities, while three bases in Wuerzburg near Frankfurt in central Germany will be shut, said a statement by the US European command.

The other bases are in Giebelstadt, a small town near Wuerzburg.

A main part of this plan is to position US forces around the globe to be best able to respond to the threats of the new security environment
Pentagon statement

Two other bases are to be returned to German authorities in following years, the statement said.

The base closures will affect around 6,100 soldiers, 11,000 family members and around 2,000 civilian staff during the fiscal year 2006.

These changes are part of the Pentagon's overall plan - the Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy - to transform the military to increase strategic responsiveness and flexibility in the face of current and anticipated future threats, the statement said.

"A main part of this plan is to position US forces around the globe to be best able to respond to the threats of the new security environment."

"The 1st Infantry Division has played roles in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism," the Pentagon statement said.

It said US Army leaders were committed to supporting the soldiers, families and civilian employees during this transition.

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