Pentagon reconsidering troop levels in Europe amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine


When the year began, there were about 80,000 U.S. troops based in Europe, either permanently stationed or participating in heel-to-toe rotations from bases stateside. But as Russia amassed more troops on Ukraine’s border and then launched a full-on invasion in late February, the number of Americans posted along NATO’s eastern front has swelled to more than 90,000.

Those troops are in place temporarily, to reassure allies, the Pentagon has said, but a senior defense official told reporters Friday that the ongoing war in Ukraine has forced the Defense Department to re-think its numbers in Europe.

“There’s been no posture decisions, permanent posture decisions … there’s no serious negotiations with other nations in terms of permanent posture right now,” the official said. “But I think it’s safe to assume that the security environment in Europe is now radically different than it was before.”

In recent years, the U.S. has leaned more on rotational forces training with local troops from the Baltics down to Bulgaria, as permanent bases in Germany have closed.


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