The U.S. House and Senate agreed on a bill preventing the reduction of American troops in Korea to below 28,500 personnel, the current level stationed on the peninsula, stressing that their presence in the region benefits the national security of the United States.
The U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees in Washington on Monday agreed on a $738 billion joint defense budget bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2020, which stipulates: “None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act may be used to reduce the total number of members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who are deployed to South Korea below 28,500,” without approval by the secretary of defense.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper would have to certify that such a reduction of troops “is in the national security interest of the United States and will not significantly undermine the security of United States allies in the region,” and ensure that Washington “appropriately consulted with allies of the United States, including South Korea and Japan,” according to the bill.
The number is 6,500 personnel higher than the restriction set in the 2019 NDAA, which stipulates U.S. troop presence in Korea must not fall below 22,000. (end of excerpt)
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