As part of the effort to reassure Eastern European allies concerned about Russia’s aggression, the Pentagon announced “continuous troop rotations” of U.S.-based armored brigade combat teams to Europe.
Wednesday’s press release from the U.S. European Command said the troops will begin arriving in February 2017, bringing the total U.S. Army presence in the European theater to three fully-manned Army brigades.
A new unit will rotate in every nine months, bringing with them more modern equipment.
The equipment will be an upgrade to the pre-positioned equipment the U.S. has put in place the last two years. That older gear will remain in Western Europe to help with any quick response needed in the east.
The Pentagon’s announcement said U.S. allies and partners would see “more capability” in Europe by U.S. forces, calling it “a more frequent presence of an armored brigade with more modernized equipment in their countries.”
“This Army implementation plan continues to demonstrate our strong and balanced approach to reassuring our NATO Allies and Partners in the wake of an aggressive Russia in Eastern Europe and elsewhere,” the press release said.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has continuously pledged additional military support for the region, and the 2017 Pentagon budget called for an increase in troop rotations and military exercises in Europe.
In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, a region formerly part of the Ukraine.
Since then, the international community has condemned Russia for military intervention in the region, violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and breaking international law.