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U.S. To Hand 15 Bases Back To Host Countries In Western Europe

The Pentagon announced on January 8 that it is returning 15 bases that it now operates in Western Europe back to their host nations.

The bases are in Britain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, and The Netherlands.

The move, expected to eventually save $500 million annually, is to take place during the next several years as the U.S. military faces tighter budgets.

At the same time, the Pentagon says the United States is committed to bolstering troop rotations in the Baltics and Poland amid heightened tensions between Russia and NATO over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Reuters the changes are necessary to "help maximize our military capabilities in Europe so that we can best support our NATO allies and partners."

Based on reporting by Reuters and The Hill