Pentagon chief on inaugural tour of Europe to shore up ties

BERLIN (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is taking an inaugural tour of Europe nearly a year after President Donald Trump ordered U.S. troop cuts to Germany as a kind of punishment for Berlin. Austin arrived in Berlin on Monday for talks with Germany officials and is scheduled this week to visit NATO headquarters in Belgium. He also will meet with British defense officials in London. Austin is likely to assure German officials of intentions by the Biden administration to keep troops in Germany, though the number is subject to discussion. He wants to shore up partnerships that are a cornerstone of the post-World War II order.