As the standoff in Eastern Europe between NATO and Russia continues to develop, the U.S. military has taken measures to be prepared if the situation continues to escalate. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin placed approximately 8,500 stateside troops on heightened alert for potential deployment to Ukraine last Monday. On Thursday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby revealed in his press briefing the 10 bases that are home to those units that received the alert order.
It is important to note that these units have not been activated to deploy, and have only been ordered to a heightened state of readiness for the time being:
- Fort Bragg, North Carolina (82nd Airborne Division and 18th Airborne Corps)
- Fort Campbell, Kentucky (101st Airborne Division)
- Fort Carson, Colorado (4th Infantry Division)
- Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
- Fort Hood, Texas
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
- Fort Polk, Louisiana
- Robins AFB, Georgia
- Fort Stewart, Georgia
- Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
“These units, all told, include medical support, aviation support, logistics support, and of course, combat formations,” said Kirby.
This is all part of a much bigger puzzle as NATO continues to seek a diplomatic solution with Russia, which has not appeared overly promising over the past couple of weeks. These units Kirby mentioned would primarily be allocated as the U.S. contribution to the NATO Response Force, which includes 40,000 multinational troops in total.
These U.S. troops, if deployed, would be in addition to the thousands already stationed overseas as part of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) under Air Force General Tod D. Walters. 60,000 troops and civilian employees currently fall under EUCOM, including over 30,000 stationed in Germany.
Related: What is a Combatant Command?
Russia has had over 100,000 troops massed on Ukraine’s eastern and northern borders since early December 2021, stoking fears of invasion and the potential for a wider-spread conflict. Both sides have stated publicly that they wish to avoid a war, but have also been unwilling to budge on issues directly related to Russia’s threatening posture towards Ukraine.
Russia has demanded that NATO formally agree to never offer membership to Ukraine, and pull back its troops that are massing in Eastern Europe to prepare for Russia’s next move. These are both non-starters for the U.S. and NATO. While there are no plans to extend an offer to Ukraine at this time, the U.S. and NATO have both recently made it clear that they will support Ukraine’s sovereignty and their right to determine their own security arrangements.
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Feature image: U.S. Army