The United States will send more than 10,000 troops to Europe, expected to replace forces deployed to the region following the Russian attack on Ukraine, many of them positioned along the “east flank” of the NATO military bloc.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed the deployment at a Friday press conference, noting that the “the security environment has now changed” in the region because of the conflict in Ukraine.
“The deployments are one-for-one unit replacements, which will leave our overall force posture in the region – approximately 100,000 – unchanged,” Kirby told reporters. “Replaced units will return to their home positions after an appropriate rotation of responsibilities.”
Troop rotations are expected to continue throughout the summer, the spokesperson continued. However, he added that the army could soon “look at the permanent imprint in Europe and make an assessment” whether he should remain at his current level, although no decision has yet been made.
Before Moscow sent troops to Ukraine in late February, US forces in Europe numbered around 80,000, some stationed there permanently on bases, while others rotated on deployments. training with NATO partners.
While some members of the alliance, such as the Baltic state of Lithuania, have called for a larger and more sustained US military presence in recent months, US officials have offered ways to meet those demands, including building new basics.
“My advice would be to make permanent bases, but don’t park permanently [US troops]”, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers last month. He argued that this would, in effect, mean long-term deployments, like “rotating forces” could browse “permanent bases”.
“And I believe a lot of our European allies… they’re very, very willing to establish permanent bases,” Milley added. “They’ll build them, they’ll pay for them.”