On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced plans to permanently place U.S. troops in Poland amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On the second day of the NATO summit in Madrid during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Biden said the U.S. will bolster its forces in Europe amid the persistent threat from Russia to the region.
Specifically, Biden promised to increase the number of troops in Europe and said permanently placing a U.S. Army V Corps headquarters in Poland would help NATO fend off threats “from all directions, across every domain.”
Additional details include adding a rotational brigade in Europe stationed in Romania and “increasing rotational deployments to the Baltic states — moves that will bolster forces on NATO’s eastern flank.
Biden also said that the U.S. would send two more F-35 squadrons to the United Kingdom and add air defense and other capabilities in Germany and Italy. The president also highlighted plans to send two additional Navy destroyers to Spain, an announcement he made the day prior” reports The Hill.
“We’re sending an unmistakable message, in my view,” Biden said, “that NATO is strong and united and the steps we’re taking during this summit are going to further augment our collective strength.”
Biden continued, “Together with our allies, we are going to make sure that NATO is ready to meet threats from all directions, across every domain.”
NATO officially invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, prompting Stoltenberg to say “It demonstrates that President Putin has not succeeded in closing NATO’s door…He is getting the opposite of what he wants. He wants less NATO; President Putin is getting more NATO by Finland and Sweden joining our Alliance.”
On a call with reporters, Assistant Secretary for Defense Celeste Wallander did not specify the number of additional troops to be sent to Europe after Biden’s announcement. “I think we’ll be able to give numbers in the future as we, you know, identify the specific units,” said Wallander who added, “These force posture changes will take place over the coming months.”
The Hill writes, “Biden said during his remarks that the U.S. had surged 20,000 forces to Europe earlier this year as Russia threatened Ukraine, estimating the total of U.S. forces currently in Europe at 100,000. He also commended the progress toward adding Finland and Sweden as members of the alliance, saying: ‘NATO is more needed now than it ever has been.”