Army withdrawing two brigades from Europe

In a move reflecting the Pentagon’s new cost-cutting strategy, the U.S. Army is planning to withdraw two of its four brigades from Europe.

The Army is replacing the two brigades with rotational units, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in an interview with the Defense Department’s American Forces Press Service on Thursday.

The move is part of both a reduction in ground forces for the Army as well as a strategic shift toward the Asia-Pacific region. President Obama announced the new military strategy at the Pentagon last week. He said the United States would shift its military focus to air and sea and create a “leaner” and more “agile” military.

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While the United States is reducing its European forces, Panetta said that the change would not be noticed in Europe because troops stationed there have been making frequent tours in Afghanistan and Iraq the past decade.

The Pentagon is preparing to cut $487 billion from its budget over the next decade, and Obama’s announcement last week was the first step in publicly laying out the new military strategy tied to the budget cuts. The Pentagon will release more details when it releases its budget in the coming weeks.