Biden Says He’ll Send Troops to Eastern Europe in the ‘Near Term’

The US has 8,500 troops on 'heightened alert' for a potential NATO deployment

In brief comments to reporters on Friday, President Biden said he would be moving some troops to Eastern Europe in the “near term.”

“I’ll be moving US troops to Eastern Europe and the NATO countries in the near term — not a lot,” Biden said.

The Pentagon recently put 8,500 troops on “heightened alert” to prepare for a possible deployment to Eastern Europe. The majority of the troops would only deploy as part of NATO’s Response Force if it is activated.

To activate the NATO force, all 30 alliance members must consent. But some NATO members are less interested in escalating tensions with Russia than others, most notably Germany.

It’s possible the US could deploy a smaller number of troops to Eastern Europe on its own to countries NATO considers its “eastern flank,” which includes Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. US troops have a presence in the region on a rotational basis.

Sending more troops to Eastern Europe now would do little but escalate tensions with Moscow since Russia’s main gripe with the Western powers is the presence of US and NATO troops near its borders. In written responses to Russia’s security proposals, both the US and NATO rejected Moscow’s call for a halt to NATO expansion.

At a press conference Friday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reiterated Biden’s stance that the US won’t deploy more troops to Ukraine. “The president’s been real clear that he does not intend to put combat troops into Ukraine for the purpose of conducting combat operations,” he said. The US has about 100 National Guard soldiers in Ukraine and an undisclosed number of special operators who are training Ukrainian forces.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.