A dozen enormous satellite dishes installed in a field next to the AOC complex ensure that the reconnaissance experts here don't miss a single soldier, truck or command post.Once a connection has been established between the drone pilots in Nevada and AOC in Ramstein, the commands are rerouted from the German base to a satellite."Without Ramstein, drones could not function, at least not as they do now." For German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the new evidence could be explosive.

Other documents provide significant insight into how operations in places like Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen are carried out.

And they show that a central -- and controversial -- element of this warfare is played out in Germany.

But another strategic task of the headquarters of the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) remained a national secret for years.

Even the German government claimed to know nothing when, two years ago, the base became the subject of suspicion.

At AOC, in a beige-colored, low-rise building, more than 500 US soldiers monitor the air space over Europe and Africa.

During the past decade, the Pentagon has invested a considerable amount of money expanding Ramstein for its analysis and hub functions.The graphics show that Ramstein is involved in virtually every Air Force drone attack.Even if the pilots are sitting at Air Force bases in Nevada, Arizona or Missouri, and even if the targets are located on the Horn of Africa or the Arab Peninsula, USAFE headquarters at Ramstein is almost always involved.The US Air Force base in Ramstein is a central and indispensible element in Barack Obama's controversial use of drones in the war against terror.New documents are creating pressure for both Washington and the German government.By SPIEGEL Staff In the heart of Germany's Palatinate region -- just a few kilometers from the city of Kaiserslautern -- the United States maintains its largest military base on foreign soil.