President Biden on Thursday signed an executive order allowing the Pentagon to mobilize 3,000 reservists for deployments in Europe, where the US military has significantly increased its presence since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Since February 2022, the US has deployed over 20,000 additional troops to Europe, bringing US troop levels on the continent to over 100,000 for the first time since 2005. The US has beefed up its presence in Eastern Europe and currently has over 10,000 troops in Poland, which has become a hub for weapons bound for Ukraine.
The mobilization of 3,000 reservists signals the US military is strained by maintaining a large troops presence in Europe. A spokesman for US European Command (EUCOM) said the authority will “not change current force-posture levels,” suggesting the reservists might be used to rotate other troops out of Europe.
“These authorities will ensure long-term resilience in EUCOM’s continued heightened level of presence and operations,” said EUCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Speaks.
The Pentagon said the reservists will support Operation Atlantic Resolve, the name for US military activities in Europe that have come in response to events in Ukraine since 2014, the year a US-backed coup in Kyiv led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the civil war in Ukraine’s Donbas region.
President Biden signed the order at the end of a trip to Europe that included the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. On Thursday, he was in Finland, NATO’s newest member that shares an over 800-mile border with Russia, and declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “already lost” the war in Ukraine.