Thousands of troops remain deployed in response to Ukraine war

by Tommy Grant

In early 2022, the Defense Department activated roughly 20,000 troops in Europe to support NATO as Russia invaded Ukraine. Going into 2024, troops are still on rotating deployments for that mission.

Deployed personnel include those from brigade combat teams in Romania and Poland. There are also plans to increase the Navy’s presence in Rota, Spain, a Pentagon spokesman told Military Times.

“Given the current security environment, there are no immediate plans to reduce these forces,” Army Maj. Charlie Dietz said.

Without a separate named operation, the increased rotations have been absorbed into the larger Operation Atlantic Resolve, which has been sending rotations into Europe since Russia invaded the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014.

“Over the past two years, the United States has made strategic decisions to enhance our military presence and capabilities,” Dietz said. “This includes an increase in NATO exercises and supportive operations with various allies and partners. Currently, there are no plans for a surge in additional capabilities, as our assessment indicates that we have appropriately sized and deployed forces.”

In addition to partnering with allies in the Baltics, Poland and Hungary, U.S. troops have set up a long-term assistance command in Germany to help coordinate rotations of training with Ukrainian troops.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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