While the move gives the European Military Command « more flexibility » to defend the continent, it will not change effective force levels in Europe, Captain Bill Speaks, a spokesman for the US European Command, said in a statement.
The president’s order also designates for the first time Operation Atlantic Resolve, the US effort in Europe, as a contingency operation, allowing the Pentagon to call up reserve forces and deploy accelerated procurement authorities to supply equipment to those troops.
The designation not only allows the president to mobilize reservists, but also ensures that they are paid and sustained as active duty troops. It also provides support to the families and dependents of any reservists who may be deployed.
The United States sent another 20,000 troops to Europe following its invasion of Russia, bringing the total to over 100,000 on the continent. This includes new rotations of 10,000 troops in Poland, which has emerged as a critical hub for Ukraine’s support and supply.
The potential call-ups come on the heels of a NATO summit in Lithuania this week, where allies pledged to prepare 300,000 troops for rapid deployment in 30 days or less. It’s a tall order for the 31-member alliance whose individual members struggle with equipment and troop readiness after decades of skimping on military funding.
The news also comes as Ukraine continues to hammer Russia’s main defensive lines in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Though top Pentagon officials express hope that Kiev forces could recapture more significant territory soon, they say progress has been slower than hoped.
New American cluster bombs have arrived in Ukraine after the Pentagon announced its controversial decision to send them last week, Sims said Thursday. Officials say they believe the new weapons will prove more effective on the battlefield against dug-in Russian positions and concentrations of troops and armored vehicles.