Six months into the U.S. effort to bolster Ukraine’s military with equipment, while reassuring NATO allies with troops and aircraft throughout Eastern Europe and Germany, the plan is for troops to remain activated for the foreseeable future.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the Biden administration plans to put a name on this support effort, in the vein of the ongoing Operational Inherent Resolve mission to defeat ISIS. But a Pentagon spokesman couldn’t confirm that report on Thursday.
“I’m not aware of any plans to establish a named operation in support of Ukraine security assistance,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said. “It’s certainly something to take a look at and when we have something to announce, definitely, but I’m not aware of anything.”
Naming an operation “typically entails funding” and coordination across DoD and the Joint Staff, Ryder added, which hasn’t been put in place.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $13.5 billion in weapons and funding, in addition to providing training on weapons system to troops outside of the country.
Some activated units have been extended or rotated home and been replaced since mobilizations began in March, bumping up the total number of American troops in Europe from 80,000 to nearly 100,000
“My sense is that will remain at that level for the time being,” Ryder said. “Because, again, part of this is not only providing that capability and sending an important message to Russia, but also to our allies and our partners in the region about our commitment to supporting Ukraine.”
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.