After first leaving Mannheim’s Coleman Barracks in 2011, US Army Europe (USAREUR) returned in 2015 on a purportedly temporary basis. The return came at a time when, in response to what Washington insisted was an increasingly aggressive Russia, the military was scrambling for ways to accommodate a flood of tanks, heavy vehicles and other weapons.
The US Army is now in talks with Germany over possible terms for retaining the base.
"We are assessing the long range requirements for Coleman Barracks and expect a decision in the near future," Stars and Stripes quoted a statement by USAREUR spokesman Maj. Mark Miller. "Once that decision is made we can provide better details on future plans."
German authorities were considering hosting immigrants at Coleman Barracks, a common fate for retired US installations.
Under the European Reassurance Initiative within the Pentagon’s proposed 2018 budget, USAREUR is scheduled to receive $3.2 billion, with much of it marked for increasing the number of weapons at staging locations and rotating more soldiers to Europe.
Since Russia’s 2014 reunification efforts in Ukraine, Washington has intensified its European operations, after decades of closing down and withdrawing resources from installations there. This includes a more consistent presence and larger exercises in the Baltics and Poland.
German media have also reported that inquiries have been made about an old weapons depot in Kriegsfeld, southwest Germany, that the US abandoned in the 1990s.
USAREUR hasn’t given details on whether only German installations are being considered and specifically which German sites are included, saying at this point, “it’s all just research.”
Miller said in his statement, "Some of our research involves reaching out to host nation authorities regarding laws, constraints, and capacity of facilities. This does not mean specific courses of action will be executed but will guide our military and political leaders to make informed decisions about the future of the Army in Europe."