Trump pushing allies hosting US troops to cover full cost of deployment plus some extra

Daily News Article   —   Posted on March 14, 2019

(Compiled from UK Daily Telegraph and UK Daily Mail) – President Trump is pushing a plan to require allies with U.S. troops stationed in their countries to bear more of the cost for hosting the troops.

The president wants such countries to not just cover the full cost of US troop deployment but also pay America an extra amount for the service. “Cost Plus 50,” means paying the full cost of deployment plus a further 50 per cent.

Several U.S. officials said Friday that the White House has asked the Defense Department to gather data on the costs of keeping troops in other countries and how much those nations contribute to the expenses.

As part of the “Cost Plus 50” plan, allies such as Japan and Germany would be asked to pay considerably more than they do now, Bloomberg News reports.

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said that getting U.S. allies to “increase their investment in our collective defense and ensure fairer burden-sharing” has been a long-standing U.S. goal.

“The Administration is committed to getting the best deal for the American people,” Marquis said in a statement issued Friday.

He declined to provide details on any ongoing deliberations.

Most NATO allies have a U.S. presence, but there are larger bases and military populations in countries such as Germany, England, Japan, Italy, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

It is understood that not all countries with US troops are being asked to pay “Cost plus 50,” with the exact extra percentage varying for each ally.

Furthermore the demand is seen as an opening position which may be negotiated down during talks.

The drive may be especially significant for Germany, which, according to an expert quoted by Bloomberg, currently pays just 28 per cent of the cost of US troops stationed there – around $1 billion.

Just last week, South Korea and the United States signed a deal that would increase Seoul’s financial contribution for the deployment of U.S. troops in the Asian country.

There are about 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea.

Bloomberg reported that those talks almost went off the rails after Trump gave his national security advisor, John Bolton, a note saying “We want cost plus 50,” overruling his negotiators.

After rounds of failed negotiations, chief delegates from the two countries last month agreed on Seoul paying about 1.04 trillion won, or $924 million, in 2019 for the U.S. military presence, up from about $830 million last year.

Compiled from articles on March 8 at UK Daily Telegraph by Ben Riley-Smith and UK Daily Mail by Geoff Earle with AP.  Reprinted here for educational purposes only.