House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R – TX) is seeking official estimates from the Pentagon on the cost of more permanent deployments of US ground troops into Europe, particularly as it relates to the escalations of the past couple of years.
The US has made multiple ground deployments into Eastern Europe over the past year, mostly centering on getting ground troops near the Russian border as part of “spearhead” forces, which the Pentagon has presented as necessary to “reassure” US allies in the region.
While those deployments are open-ended, and likely permanent, they are being done officially as a series of short, overlapping rotations of US troops to “support NATO operations.” Rep Thornberry says he is not convinced that it is actually cheaper to make such deployments than to just admit that they are a permanent presence.
Of course, it’s not at all clear how reliable Pentagon estimates will be anyhow, as they aren’t exactly known for their dependable numbers. The Pentagon has been pushing for bigger permanent deployments in Europe anyhow, so they may well have an incentive to make it look affordable.