The Army announced fresh deployments for three brigades and a division headquarters Wednesday afternoon, revealing which units will take up positions in Europe as part of the long-running Atlantic Resolve deterrence mission.
- The 4th Infantry Division’s headquarters element will depart Fort Carson, Colorado, to replace the 1st Infantry Division’s leaders as the two-star headquarters overseeing the U.S. portion of the NATO-led mission.
- 4th Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade will deploy with their division headquarters and replace their counterparts from the 101st Division Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
- The 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team will replace the Fort Hood, Texas-based division’s 3rd ABCT. The “Black Jack Brigade” recently completed another Atlantic Resolve rotation in 2020, according to a division press release.
- The 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, stationed at Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Georgia, will swap with the 1st Armored Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade.
The units’ commanders expressed their eagerness for the mission in statements accompanying the releases.
Col. Christopher Kirkpatrick of 2nd ABCT, 1st Cavalry Division, welcomed the deployment, saying the “Black Jack Brigade” is “’all-in’ to reassure our European allies.”
The 4th Infantry Division’s top general, Maj. Gen. David Hodne, described his formations as “highly trained, focused, and ready,” in a division press release.
And Col. Eric Vanek, the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade’s commander, declared his “Dogface Soldiers...are ready to serve.”
Army officials said the rotations will occur during the first half of 2023, but did not specify projected handover dates due to operational security concerns. Units deployed as part of Atlantic Resolve typically spend nine months overseas, according to an Army Europe and Africa fact sheet.
Atlantic Resolve rotations began in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the war in Ukraine’s Donbas region. They are intended to reassure NATO allies across Eastern Europe through joint training events and simultaneously deter further aggression from Russia.
Wednesday’s announcement confirmed the service will maintain two ABCTs in Europe in light of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.
Previously, Atlantic Resolve only included one tank brigade. But in the invasion’s wake, the number of ABCTs in theater jumped from one to three, raising concerns over the pace of deployments for the Army’s tank units. That number fell to two earlier this year when the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st ABCT returned home without a replacement unit.
When 1st Cav’s 2nd ABCT arrives, they will join troops from the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd ABCT, whose Atlantic Resolve rotation was announced in September. It’s not clear if the two-ABCT Atlantic Resolve commitment is permanent, though, and Army officials did not immediately respond to a query from Army Times seeking clarification.
Other increases in troop levels have become permanent, too, with the Joe Biden administration announcing in June that Romania would permanently host a rotational brigade combat team. The 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team is currently there.
Additional “crisis-surge” units remain in Europe as well, though they are slowly decreasing in number.
The 101st Airborne Division’s headquarters is in Romania, but the 18th Airborne Corps headquarters is on its way back to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Defense officials recently announced that a smaller, “enduring” headquarters to coordinate security assistance to Ukraine will replace the corps.
Military Times Pentagon bureau chief Meghann Myers contributed to this report.
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.