WASHINGTON Facing budget pressures and a shrinking military, the Pentagon said on Thursday it would consolidate U.S. bases in Europe in the coming years and hand back 15 facilities to the host nation governments in a move projected to save $500 million annually.
Following are some of the Pentagon's planned cuts:
- Divest RAF Mildenhall northeast of London and return the installation and supporting sites to the British government. The refueling and special operations aircraft at the base would be moved to Germany. The air reconnaissance squadron would be shifted elsewhere in Britain. The 3,200 U.S. military personnel would be removed along with their families.
- Divest RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth, where various U.S. support units are located, and return them to the British government. Most personnel from these bases would be transferred to RAF Croughton, a major communications station.
- Close a number of support facilities in Germany and return the sites to the government. Closures include Barton Barracks, home to offices of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, which will be relocated to Sembach; Weilimdorf Warehouse Site; Pfeffelbach Waterworks and Hoppstaedten Waterworks in Baumholder; Mainz Kastel Storage Station and the Amelia Earhart Hotel at the U.S. Army Garrison at Wiesbaden.
- Close commissaries at Illeshim and Sembach in Germany as well as four in the Stuttgart area.
- Partially close Camp Darby near Livorno in Italy and return part to Italy.
- Reduce operations and property at Lajes Field in the Azores, including cutting the number of personnel and contract providers by two-thirds. Return a number of buildings at Lajes to the Portuguese government.
(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Richard Chang)