General Mark A. Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and nation’s highest-ranking military officer, proposed rotating troops through permanent bases in Europe instead of having them stationed at the same.
NATO is currently examining Europe’s physical security posture to identify areas that need to be changed or improved following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said U.S. officials have every intention of working with leaders from other NATO countries to determine what the security by intelligent design looks like on a continental scale.
Austin said, “If NATO deems that it’s appropriate to change its footprint, then certainly we will be a part of that. Our goal is to make sure that we continue to reassure our allies and partners, especially those that are on the eastern flank, and especially our allies that are in the Baltic area or Baltic region.”
NEWS: Gen. Mark A. Milley Proposes Rotational Forces in Permanent Bases Across Eastern Europe https://t.co/rtdtJu5Teo
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) April 5, 2022
He added, “Actual presence is always a good deterrent relative to a given threat.”
What will this ‘rotation’ look like?
For US troops, it will look very similar to the current rotation of expeditionary forces rotating through the Baltic states and Poland. These troop numbers have increased since the start of Russia’s war with Ukraine and have included troops sent to Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia.
This move would also require that new bases be built in the eastern NATO theater. Austin said, “My advice would be to create permanent bases but don’t permanently station.” This process would permanently staff permanent installations with temporary troops.
Not a deployment, but not a PCS, means no family. Gen. Milley said that by making the NATO duty station a rotation rather than a permanent duty station, the military avoids having to shoulder the cost of moving entire families and all of the expenses that come with it, such as commissaries, on-post housing, schools, day care, etc.
According to Austin, the outcome of this decision should be announced in June at the Madrid Summit.