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British forces have been permanently stationed in Germany since 1945. The Government announced in 2010 as part of its Strategic Defence and Security Review that all the forces will be withdrawn by 2020. The Government argued that “there is no longer any operational requirement for UK forces to be based there, and the current arrangements impose financial costs on the UK, disruption on personnel and their families and opportunity costs in terms of wider Army coherence.” It means that the Army will be almost completely UK-based for the first time in decades.

Approximately 15,000 service personnel are currently based in Germany, down from 20,000 at the time of the SDSR. The vast majority will return to the UK by the end of 2016.

Under the NATO status of Forces Supplementary Agreement the UK is obliged to pay reinstatement costs to the German Federal government, although the exact nature of those residual costs has yet to be determined.

This note provides a short overview of the withdrawal plans.

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