US scaling back bases in Europe in cost-cutting move

The US military said Thursday it will close a major air base in Britain and withdraw from 14 other installations across Europe as part of a reorganization of forces to save money. The “consolidation” will save the US government about $500 million a year and not diminish American military power, Pentagon officials said, but the move prompted disappointment in Britain and anger in Portugal over the potential economic effect of the scaled-back presence. The closure of bases and various outposts over the next several years will likely reduce the current contingent of 67,000 American forces in Europe by only about 1,200 troops, a defense official told AFP. Under the plan, US operations at RAF Mildenhall in Britain will end and 500 troops and civilians will be withdrawn from Portugal’s Lajes Field in the Azores.

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