The Army’s long-term commitments in Europe will soon increase, President Joe Biden and defense officials announced Wednesday as part of the ongoing NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.
According to a fact sheet accompanying the announcement, the service will establish a permanent garrison in Poland, add more permanently stationed troops in Germany and Italy, commit an enduring rotating brigade combat team to Romania and aim to increase rotating troop levels in the Baltic countries and Poland.
The move, part of a broader increase to NATO’s troop levels in Eastern Europe, means that the Army will have at least four brigade combat teams in Europe at any time — two rotational brigades, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Officials distinguished between Wednesday’s announcement, which established a new baseline European presence, and the “crisis-surge” troops currently in theater directly in response to Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine in February.
“These decisions on posture now make those crisis-surge decisions and movements more sustainable and more combat-credible,” explained assistant defense secretary Celeste Wallander in a press conference.
What Army units will be in Europe now?
More than 1,000 soldiers and Army civilians will now become permanently stationed in Europe due to the change, according to defense officials.
- The forward V Corps command post in Poznan, Poland, will transition from a rotational manning to a permanent assignment of 235 troops.
- A new Poland garrison command with 35 soldiers and 100 civilians will join V Corps, as will a field support battalion totaling 41 soldiers and civilians.
- Two brigade headquarters — for an air defense and an engineer brigade — will stand up in Germany, with 116 and 126 troops respectively.
- Two battalions will station in Germany as well — a combat sustainment support battalion headquarters with 66 soldiers and a short-range air defense battalion with 315 soldiers.
- Italy will also gain a short-range air defense battery with 63 troops that fall under the new SHORAD battalion in Germany.
In addition to the permanent units, the service will fill additional rotational commitments totaling thousands more soldiers:
- A brigade combat team of unknown type will rotate to Romania.
- The service will “reinforce” rotational forces in the Baltic countries.
- The Army will “seek to enhance” rotational forces in Poland, which already has an Atlantic Resolve rotational division headquarters, armor brigade, combat aviation brigade and logistics task force. The units report to V Corps.
The Army is in the process of replacing the “crisis-surge” units across the region as well.
- The XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters will remain in theater.
- The 101st Airborne Division is replacing the 82nd Airborne Division headquarters.
- The 101st’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team is replacing the 82nd’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
- The 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team is relieving the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, which rapidly deployed without notice this spring.
- And the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, whose Atlantic Resolve rotation was indefinitely extended when war broke out in Ukraine, is coming home. Army officials were unable to immediately answer whether they would be replaced by another armor brigade.
Davis Winkie covers the Army for Military Times. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill, and served five years in the Army Guard. His investigations earned the Society of Professional Journalists' 2023 Sunshine Award and consecutive Military Reporters and Editors honors, among others. Davis was also a 2022 Livingston Awards finalist.