There’s a party on the Eastern front, and we haven’t been invited. We’re coming anyway. And arriving early.
The Pentagon recently announced a major shift of troops to Poland and the Baltic States, scheduled for February. However, The Associated Press has learned that troops from Colorado are already moving out.
Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said he was “very happy that a decision has been taken by the U.S. side for an earlier deployment,” according to the AP.
But though Armored Brigade Combat Team from Fort Carson, Colorado, has been loading on ships and will be deployed in early January, the Army told the AP that the deployment was not accelerated and was taking place according to the previously set schedule.
The mystery, therefore, involved why the U.S. Army denied the acceleration. Perhaps this was just a way of keeping the Russians off balance — not that Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t seem unbalanced already.
Eastern Europe has been nervous — especially in the wake of Putin’s Ukraine intervention. His annexation of the Crimea region has had some allied nations worrying that they could be next.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said the new plan should allay such worries, but the apparent change in the timetable may indicate that American intelligence and military leaders shared some of those concerns.
Military.gov reported the U.S. plan for the constant presence of a third brigade in Europe. Two permanent brigades — one Stryker and one airborne– have already been stationed there.
In March, U.S. News reported plans to position American troops, tanks and other armored vehicles full-time along NATO’s eastern borders to deter Russian aggression, in what would be the first such deployment since the end of the Cold War.
For months this summer, the U.S., Germany and Britain have led joint exercises in Operation Swift Response, preparing for rapid deployment. Their initial base of 5,000 troops included airmen from the United States, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
The Pentagon now aimed to rotate in an Army armored brigade each year and divide the rotational force of 4,200 among six eastern members — Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.
Just a little New Year’s surprise. Nice party, Vladimir.
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