US plans to boost military presence in Eastern Europe

The United States plans to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression, officials said Wednesday.

The Pentagon intends to deploy an armored brigade combat team on a rotational basis next February along with a full set of equipment to NATO’s eastern borders, as part of the ongoing effort to reassure allies in the region that feel threatened by Russia.

The nine-month rotations will bring the U.S. military presence in Europe to three fully manned combat brigades, and they will conduct military exercises across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, the U.S. European command said.

The U.S. military has about 62,000 permanent forces in Europe, 25,000 of which Army soldiers. Under the new plan, the number will increase to 29,200 soldiers at any given time.

The deployment decision means U.S. allies will “see a more frequent presence of an armored brigade with more modernized equipment in their countries,” said General Philip Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command.

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