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The Pentagon announced plans Friday to vacate 21 “minor, non-operational” military facilities in Europe and return them to their host countries, a move that officials say will have no impact on force posture and military capabilities in Europe.
The decision comes despite a renewed focus on military readiness in Europe due to tension over Russia’s military activities in Ukraine.
Most of the sites are in Germany and Italy and include housing facilities, training ranges, a golf course and a hotel. The closures are expected to save about $60 million annually.
“This return is part of a continued effort for U.S. European Command to shed non-enduring and excess sites from its real-property inventory, and focus more resources on other USEUCOM mission requirements,” according to a Defense Department statement.
“None of these adjustments affects existing force structure or military capabilities, and the efficiencies will further enable U.S. European Command to resource high priority missions,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said in the statement.
Most of the sites will close and be turned over to the host nations later this year. They include:
U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria
■ Garmisch golf course, Garmisch, Germany
■ Breitenau skeet range, Garmisch, Germany
■ General Abrams hotel and dispensary, Garmisch, Germany
■ Frechetsfeld radio site, Grafenwoehr, Germany
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden
■ Wiesbaden recreation center, Wiesbaden, Germany
■ Fintherlandstrasse family housing, Wiesbaden, Germany
■ Kastel housing area, Mainz-Kastel, Germany (in 2016)
U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz
■ Closure of three American Forces Network AM sites — Heidelberg AFN relay facility, Sambach AFN facility and Weisskirchen AFN transmitter facility.
■ Hill 365 radio relay facility
■ Three Sembach water well sites
■ Giessen General Depot
Spangdahlem Air Base
■ Siegenburg Range, Bavaria, Germany
U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza
■ Tirrenia Recreation Site
Navy South Bagnoli-Naples
■ Former NATO headquarters facility
NATO HQ Air Force South, Nisida Island-Naples
■ Provided support services
■ Port Customs Office, Catania-Sigonella
Karup Air Base
■ Munitions storage and airfield facilities
■ National Support Element Larissa — Support services facility
■ RAF Mildenhall — Ammunition storage annex
■ RAF Feltwell — 15 housing units (partial return)
■ U.S. Army Garrison Benelux — Daumerie Caserne (in 2015)