Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered additional troops and US military assets to be deployed to different parts of Europe amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine to further support the US’s NATO allies, a senior US defense official told reporters on Monday.
The Defense Department will send a total of 500 troops in this new deployment, the official said. The deployment will include sending KC-135 refueling aircraft to Greece, but the official could not say how many aircrafts would be sent or where in the US they will be coming from.
An air support operation center will be deployed to Poland and Romania, and an ordinance company and a maintenance company will be sent to Germany, the official said.
The ordinance and maintenance companies will provide “additional logistic support to the first armored brigade combat team, third infantry division” in Germany which is already deployed there, the official said.
“It’s only 500, small units, enablers, we said at the get-go of deploying forces that we would not rule out additional forces to include enablers, and these units are very much in support of forces that were already sent forward,” the official said.
With these additional deployments, the US now has about 100,000 US military personnel either on rotational or permanent orders stationed in Europe right now, the official said.
The decision to send these troops and military assets were “based on conversations that the secretary had with the chairman and with Gen. (Tod) Wolters,” the commander of US European command, “that these additional enablers would be useful for the forces that are already” in Europe, the official said.
The additional deployment “were already kind of queued up to go, and again fully in support of our efforts to help defend NATO airspace if needed,” the official added.