The U.S. will pull two brigades out of Europe, in one of the Pentagon's first concrete moves toward fulfilling a new global posture and budget savings requirements.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday that the move allows the Army to begin deploying forces on a rotational basis, a shift that has been expected.
Last year the Pentagon was expected to announce it would pull back two of four brigades stationed in Europe, but only tapped one. U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder said late last year that two of the four brigades in Europe, each up to roughly 5,000 troops, have been constantly deployed into the war zones or in transit, so a reduction of permanent forces would not be noticed on the Continent.
The brigade reduction has been reported, but Panetta made the announcement official in an interview with American Forces Press Service, the military's internal public relations information outfit, en route to visit troops in El Paso, Texas.