How are US Army soldiers paid

Berlin. The federal government has paid almost a billion euros for the stationing of US troops in Germany over the past ten years. With 648.5 million euros, around two thirds of this was accounted for by construction work and 333.9 million for so-called defense costs. These include aid payments to former employees of the US armed forces, the repair of damage caused by US soldiers and the reimbursement of US investments in former military locations. The figures come from a response from the Ministry of Finance to a request from the Left Bundestag member Brigitte Freihold. The answer is available from the German Press Agency.

However, the USA pays for the stationing of troops many times what Germany pays for it. The US Department of Defense estimates the expenditures for 2020 in a budget forecast from last year at around 8.125 billion US dollars (7.234 billion euros). That is 55 times as much as the 132.4 million euros that Germany paid for the stationing of troops last year.

No other military base in the world is more expensive for American taxpayers. However, US troops throughout Europe and far beyond benefit from the bases in Germany. The US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are supplied via Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate, the largest US military hospital outside the US is located in neighboring Landstuhl, and the command centers for the US armed forces in Europe and Africa are located in Stuttgart Wiesbaden in Hesse is home to the headquarters of the US Army in Europe and in Grafenwöhr in Bavaria there is one of the largest military training areas in Europe.

There are a total of almost 35,000 US soldiers in Germany. US President Donald Trump has announced that he will deduct 9,500 from it. He justified the move by saying that Germany was spending too little on defense. Although the federal government has drastically increased the defense budget, it still falls far short of the NATO target of 2 percent of gross domestic product with 1.38 percent. For comparison: the US pays 3.4 percent. "Germany has been in default for years and owes NATO billions of dollars, and they have to pay that," said Trump when announcing the withdrawal of troops.

He also pointed out that the stationing of US troops in Germany caused "enormous costs" for the US, while Germany benefited economically from the US troops. "These are well-paid soldiers. They live in Germany. They spend a lot of their money in Germany." Trump is right about that.

The economic effects are significant. Take Rhineland-Palatinate, for example, where more than half of the US soldiers are stationed in Germany. In addition to the approximately 18,500 military personnel, there are 12,000 US civilians and 25,000 family members. In addition, 7,200 German civilian employees are paid by the US armed forces.

The most recent study on the economic impact is six years old, but is still used as a yardstick in the region today. At that time it was assumed that the troop presence would generate an economic power of 2.347 billion US dollars: 1.123 billion in wages and salaries that remain in the region, 400 million that is spent on construction, services, materials, procurement and equipment and $ 824 million in value added to the region through indirectly created jobs.

Trump obviously does not allow Germany this income. He has blatantly sold his plans as punitive action that could be reversed if Germany pays more for defense. "Until they (the Germans) pay, we will withdraw our soldiers, some of our soldiers." (dpa)