The Pentagon will shed 21 European facilities from its inventory, spanning from small recreational facilities — a golf course and a skeet range — to air bases and NATO buildings.
Pentagon officials describe the changes as “minor, non-operational infrastructure adjustments” that will net about $60 million per year in savings. Although a military airfield in Denmark, an air base in Germany and a NATO facilities once critical to international missions have been marked for return to their host countries, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby maintains that removing those items from the U.S. military’s inventory is beneficial for U.S. European Command.
“None of these adjustments affects existing force structure or military capabilities, and the efficiencies will further enable U.S. European Command to resource high priority missions,” Adm. Kirby said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.
U.S. European Command is one of several military combatant commands tasked with overseeing a specific region of the world.
The decision to ditch the European property is part of an effort by the U.S. military to reduce its footprint in the area while refocusing its attention on the Asia-Pacific region. The 21 facilities on the list were deemed unnecessary during a European infrastructure study, which is currently ongoing, Adm. Kirby told reporters during a Friday press briefing.
The millions in savings that the Pentagon expects to save from the installation reduction endeavor will not happen overnight, Adm. Kirby said. Some facilities, such as the skeet range, will be easy to shut down, while larger one may require additional time, he said.