Editorial: Bringing AFRICOM to Charleston makes sense

South Carolina’s two Republican senators, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, have asked the Defense Department to relocate the United States African Command to the Charleston area. It is a good idea that national military leaders should pursue, not just for Charleston’s benefit but for the nation’s.

The potential move of AFRICOM’s headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany, to elsewhere in Europe or the United States is part of President Donald Trump’s plan to cut troop levels in Germany, partly in response to his assertion that Germany does not spend enough on defense. It’s an opportunity to reduce U.S. reliance on Germany as a base, particularly for non-NATO activities, in light of the higher costs of maintaining bases there.

There are about 50,000 U.S. Defense Department personnel in Germany, including almost 35,000 in uniform. In July, reports said Mr. Trump is working toward limiting the uniformed personnel there to 25,000 by the end of September.

Moving AFRICOM from Germany to Joint Base Charleston would accomplish most or all of that goal without affecting units assigned to NATO, so it makes sense.

The Charleston region, which has long had a robust military presence even after the Charleston Naval Base and Shipyard closed 25 years ago, would welcome AFRICOM. We hope Secretary Esper agrees that the area is the right place for the important military command.