ISSN 2330-717X

US Defense Secretary Calls Up More Troops To Europe

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By Terri Moon Cronk

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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III ordered 500 more U.S. service members to be deployed to locations in Europe to augment U.S. forces that are already there, Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said Monday. 

The order was issued over the weekend, and the added personnel are being positioned to respond to the security environment “caused by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and, certainly, to help reinforce and bolster deterrence and defense capabilities of the NATO alliance,” Kirby said. This movement is temporary, he added.  

“[We’re] going to adjust our posture continuously as the conditions require. And as [President Joe Biden] has noted before, we are not and will not send forces into Ukraine,” he said. The additional personnel will go to NATO’s eastern flank, and the United States will send some KC-135 refueling aircraft out of Fairfield Air Force Base in Spokane, [ Washington], with about 150 personnel, he said.  

The troops will deploy to Souda Bay, Greece, to give added fueling support to the commander of the U.S. European Command, Kirby said, adding the 500 deployed service members will include a 40-person air and support operations center out of Fort Stewart, Georgia. 

Right now, they’re planning to deploy to Poland into Romania to help provide additional command and control for the U.S. European Command flight operations, Kirby said. About 300 personnel will comprise a modular ammunition ordnance company out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and a support maintenance company out of Fort Stewart, he said. They’ll go to Germany to provide additional logistic support to the first Armored Brigade Combat Team 3rd Infantry Division already deployed there.  

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“These are purely defensive forces,” Kirby said, calling the troops “enablers.” “[We] said before when we deployed, the additional 7,000 [service members] that there would be associated enablers within this as part of that support. All these posture adjustments are being done … in full constant consultation with the NATO allies in question.” 

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