Germany spent almost a billion euros on US troops in the past 10 years

Germany spent almost a billion euros on US troops in the past 10 years

Over the past 10 years, the federal government has spent almost a billion euros on the stationing of US troops in Germany, according to new figures from the Ministry of Finance. However, the figures pale in comparison to what is spent by the US - and also demonstrate how Germany benefits from the troops’ presence. 

Government spent one billion euros over past 10 years

The Federal Ministry of Finance has provided information on how much US soldiers have cost Germany over the past decade, after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw 9.500 troops provoked a spat over what he deemed Germany’s “delinquent” attitude towards defence spending. 

According to the figures, the federal government has spent approximately 648,5 million euros over the past 10 years on construction measures for the US soldiers. A further 333,9 million euros have gone towards so-called defence costs, which includes aid payments to former US armed forces workers, repairs for damages caused by US soldiers, and the reimbursement of US investments at former military locations. 

35.000 US troops are currently stationed in Germany

However, these figures seem paltry in comparison to what is spent by the US on bases in Germany. Based on a budget paper from last year, the US Department of Defense estimates that spending in 2020 alone will come to 8.125 billion dollars - 61 times as much as the 132,4 million euros paid by Germany last year. 

In total, there are around 35.000 US troops in Germany. The command centres for the US armed forces in Europe and Africa are located in Stuttgart, while Wiesbaden in Hesse houses the headquarters of the US army in Europe. In Grafenwoeher in Bavaria, there is one of the largest military training areas in Europe. 

President Donald Trump sparked a debate last month when he announced that he would withdraw 9.500 soldiers from Germany, on the grounds that the federal republic spends too little on defence. Although the government has recently increased the defence budget, at 1,38 percent of GDP it still misses the NATO target of 2 percent. For comparison, the US pays 3,4 percent.

How does Germany benefit from the US military bases?

Trump’s claim that the stationing of US troops in Germany causes “huge costs” for America, while Germany benefits financially, is not far off the mark. The soldiers are generally well-paid and spend a lot of their money in Germany.

For certain regions, the economic effects are significant. Rhineland-Palatinate, for example, is home to more than half the US soldiers stationed in Germany. In addition to the approximately 18.500 military personnel, there are 12.000 US civil employees and 25.000 family members. 7.200 German civilian employees are also paid by the US armed forces.

The latest study that investigated the economic impact of US bases in Germany was six years ago, but its conclusions are still illuminating. At the time, it was estimated that the presence of US troops in Germany would generate an economic power of 2.347 billion dollars - 1.123 billion in salaries that remain in the region; 400 million dollars in construction, services, materials and equipment; and 824 million in value added through indirectly-created jobs.  



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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