The US Defense Department is working on a series of military options for President Biden’s approval that could be activated to beef up US military presence in eastern Europe to provide reassurance to allies and a deterrence factor if Russian invades Ukraine, according to two defense officials.
The options could include “movement of assets and forces already in Europe and also assets and forces available outside of Europe,” the first official said. A Russian invasion “certainly would be one trigger,” for US troops and assets to move. But some forces might be used in exercises and other training scenarios as well. And any arms sales would be considered somewhat a separate matter from troop movements.
These options would also likely be supported by sanctions.
Broadly, the US military goal would be to “meet the capability” that NATO allies in the region are asking for, the official said.
US forces could operate, as they already do, unilaterally in Europe, but could also operate under existing NATO command structures.
Additionally, US special forces continue to assist in the training of Ukrainian Special Operations Forces inside Ukraine.
“Our ongoing training mission in Ukraine plays a large role in the development of Ukrainian Special Operations Forces through regular validation training exercises,” a spokesperson for US Special Operations Command Europe told CNN.