Pentagon analyzing cost of keeping troops in Germany: report

Pentagon analyzing cost of keeping troops in Germany: report
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The Department of Defense is reportedly analyzing the ongoing costs of keeping thousands of U.S. troops stationed in Germany as President TrumpDonald John TrumpReporters defend CNN's Acosta after White House says he 'disrespected' Trump with question Security costs of Trump visit to Scotland sparks outrage among Scottish citizens Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' MORE considers reducing forces in the region.

The Washington Post reports that Pentagon officials stressed that the audit is limited to internal research so far and does not involve any members of the military's top brass.

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The analysis comes after Trump reportedly was taken aback during a White House meeting earlier this year upon learning of the size — 35,000 troops — of the U.S. deployment in the country.

The president has frequently complained that NATO countries, including Germany, do not contribute their fair share of defense spending to the alliance. 

NATO and German officials have been unnerved by the move, however, which comes amid rising tensions between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the president.

A spokesman for the Pentagon denied that the administration is considering a troop withdrawal from Germany, stating that the U.S. and the Trump administration remains committed to the NATO alliance.

“The Pentagon regularly reviews force posture and performs cost-benefit analyses,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said in a statement. “This is nothing new. Germany is host to the largest U.S. force presence in Europe — we remain deeply rooted in the common values and strong relationships between our countries. We remain fully committed to our NATO ally and the NATO alliance.”

A photo posted earlier this month on Merkel's Instagram account quickly went viral after users noted it appeared to show the two leaders in conflict, with Merkel towering over Trump while other leaders looked on.