US Beefing Up Military Presence Across Europe: Here’s Where Everything is Going

© AP Photo / Csaba KrizsanIn this file photo, American soldiers get ready for NATO's Saber Guardian exercises, checking a map near Gyor, 120 kilometers west of Budapest, Hungary.
In this  file photo, American soldiers get ready for NATO's Saber Guardian exercises, checking a map near Gyor, 120 kilometers west of Budapest, Hungary. - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.06.2022
The United States operates dozens of military facilities across Europe, including nearly two dozen Air Force bases, seven large Army garrisons, and seven Navy bases and support facilities. Most of the bases are situated in Germany, a country the US occupied in 1945 after World War II but never left.
The White House revealed on Wednesday the locations across Europe where additional US troops, aircraft, weapons systems and warships will be deployed to “contain” Russia.
The expanded footprint includes the first-ever permanent US ground base on NATO’s eastern flank via the Army Fifth Corps Headquarters Forward Command Post, situated in Poznan, Poland, about 280 km southwest of the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
The Fifth Corps played an integral role in US wars of aggression throughout the 1990s and 2000s, with its forces deploying in Bosnia and Kosovo after NATO operations there, and taking part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq before being sent to Afghanistan. The force was temporarily disbanded in 2013, but reactivated in early 2020.
The new Fifth Corps Forward Command Post HQ in Poland will strengthen “our US-NATO interoperability across the entire eastern flank,” Biden boasted, speaking at a press conference alongside NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg in Madrid as the alliance kicked off its 32nd summit. The command facility will contain roughly 200 personnel.
The US will also send an additional 3,000-troop strong rotational Brigade Combat Team to Romania, and beef up forward rotational deployments of armor, aircraft, air defense and special operations forces in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the White House indicated in a ‘fact sheet’.
“Today I’m announcing the United States will enhance our force posture in Europe and respond to the changed security environment, as well as strengthening our collective security. Earlier this year, we surged 20,000 additional US forces to Europe to bolster our alliance in response to Russia’s aggressive move, bringing our force total in Europe to 100,000. We’re going to continue to adjust our posture based on the threat, in close consultation with our allies,” Biden said in his Wednesday presser.
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Fighters in Britain, Destroyers in Spain

The US will also deploy two squadrons of F-35 fighter jets to bases in Britain, and increase the number of US destroyers permanently stationed at Naval Station Rota, the large naval facility situated near Gibraltar, from four to six.
Germany and Italy, where about 48,500 US troops are already deployed, will receive “additional air defense and other capabilities” including an air defense brigade and short-range air defense battalion in the former and a short-range air defense battery in the latter, for a total of 690 new troops.

'NATO-ization of Europe'

Biden indicated to Stoltenberg that the expanded US military presence in Europe, as well as NATO’s plans to incorporate Sweden and Finland into the Western bloc, are going to turn Vladimir Putin’s (supposedly) hoped-for “‘Finlandization’ of Europe” into “the ‘NATO-ization’ of Europe.”
“That’s exactly what he didn’t want, but exactly what needs to be done to guarantee security for Europe. And I think it’s necessary, and I’m looking forward to it happening formally,” Biden said.
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In the months leading up to the NATO summit, the alliance doubled the number of battalion-sized “enhanced forward presence battlegroups in Eastern Europe from four to eight, with new ones formed in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, adding to those already situated in the Baltic states and Poland since 2017.
Combined, the new deployments add to the dozens of US military facilities, tens of billions of dollars-worth of defense hardware, and tens of thousands of troops stationed across the European subcontinent, from Norway in the north to Greece in the south, Portugal in the west to Turkey in the east.
The US Army maintains some 46 bases in Europe, with the Marine Corps and Space Force maintaining one apiece, the Coast Guard two, the Navy seven, and the Air Force 23.
NATO’s original primary enemy, the USSR, the country the alliance was founded to protect against in 1949, vanished from the world map in 1991, but the bloc never did, and over the past two decades has undergone five waves of eastward expansion, incorporating every single member of the former Warsaw Pact, three ex-Soviet republics and four of the six republics of the former Yugoslavia. The bloc's new Strategic Concept, approved Wednesday, lists Russia as the "most significant and direct threat" to allies' security, and states that China's "ambitions and coercive policies" pose a challenge to NATO's "interests, security and values."
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