From google news
The U.S. 1st Armored Division lowered its flag this month in a ceremony that signaled the quiet return home of a unit whose tanks first rumbled onto the continent through Italy during World War II.
The Wiesbaden casing of colors ceremony also marked a milestone in the ongoing transformation of the American military. The sending off of the last division deployed in Europe at the height of the Cold War symbolizes the shift in favor of smaller, lighter units that planners say are better poised to meet today’s threats.
But the question now being raised is whether the Army’s plan to keep some 37,000 soldiers in Europe will survive growing budgetary pressures in Washington. There are increasing concerns in the U.S. Congress that the United States is footing too much of the bill for European defense at a time when some European countries have reduced defense spending.
“An alliance that is so dependent on one ceases to function properly,” said Heather Connelly, director of the Europe program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “You are probably going to see more questions from Congress about getting that balance right.”
U.S. troop strength in Europe peaked in 1962 at nearly 277,000 soldiers and was still at around 213,000 in 1989. Current plans call for reducing troops from about 42,000 today to the 37,000 by 2015.
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