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US military to close 15 bases in Europe

(CRI Online)    13:22, January 09, 2015

The U.S. Defense Ministry has announced to shut down 15 air bases in Europe due to tight budgets and a shrinking military.

The Pentagon says it is ending operations at an air base in Britain and handing it and 14 other sites in Europe back to their home governments in a move projected to save $500 million annually.

RAF Mildenhall in the northeast of London will be divested with 3,200 military personnel and their families to be withdrawn over the next several years.

Derek Chollet, Assistant Secretary Defense for International Security Affairs, told a news conference the changes would not affect capabilities.

"With these EIC decisions we are consolidating and reducing some existing support infrastructure in order to be more efficient, but we are not affecting our operational capability. The EIC adjustments do not diminish our ability to meet our commitments to allies and partners."

The net loss of U.S. troops in Britain would be about 2,000, the biggest of the consolidation moves in Europe in terms of personnel.

Many other facilities will also be closed with personnel withdrawn in Germany and Portugal.

John Conger, U.S. Acting Deputy under Secretary of Defense says the measures will preserve and reduce resources.

The Europe base moves come as the Pentagon is under orders to reduce projected spending by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Zhang Qian)

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