Video Above; Russia Attacks Ukraine - Infantry Commander Analyzes Russian Tactics & Weapons
As the war in Ukraine unfolds, Pentagon leaders appear to be operating with both a high-measure of concern for Ukraine as well as an effort to move quickly to enhance further deterrence efforts against the possibility of further Russian expansion.
US Soldier Deployment
Operating at the request of President Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a 7,000-soldier strong unit to Europe. The major unit within the deployed force is an Armored Brigade Combat Team from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. The force will depart the US in a few days to Germany for possible forward deployment to NATO’s Eastern Flank, a Pentagon report said.
With this most recent deployment order, the Pentagon will be sending a total of 12,000 US-based troops to Europe to reinforce NATO and join the 80,000 US military personnel already there. As for where they might go, the Pentagon and NATO certainly have many options. US Stryker units have deployed to Bulgaria, thousands of new US-based forces have been sent to Poland and US-based F-35s have been sent to Germany and then forward deployed to reinforce NATO to the East.
Recommended for You
Many eyes are on the Baltics, as the NATO member states have long maintained great anxiety about a Russian take-over given their proximity bordering the country and relatively small military force. Poland is also an essential likely destination, given that it borders both Ukraine and Belarus.
Sharing a border with Belarus is an extremely significant consideration for Poland, since Russian forces appear to have entered Ukraine toward Kyiv from Belarus with the full blessing of Belarussian leadership. Some reports have raised the question as to whether Belarussian forces may themselves be joining and fighting alongside Russian troops. Entering Ukraine from Belarus is the shortest path to Kyiv, and there appears to be a longstanding partnership between Russian and Belarussian leaders.
Sending more forces to Europe in support of NATO reinforces the Pentagon’s key position it has embraced for quite some time, which is that the US will intensely defend NATO but does not plan to escalate and enter Ukraine to directly engage with or fight Russian soldiers. Clearly the US wants to reinforce and reassure NATO allies that it stands by its commitment to NATO members and its collective alliance.
Interestingly, the Pentagon report says that, with the added US forces, NATO countries on the European continent have more than two million troops overall. That is a large and significant number, particularly given that Russia is reported to have roughly one million active and reserve forces combined. This means that, should there be a crisis involving an attack on NATO, Russia would not only face the collective air power and long range arsenal of each NATO member but also confront a multi-national force of more than 2 million across the NATO alliance.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.