An executive order signed Thursday by President Joe Biden will allow the the Pentagon to send up to 3,000 individual reservists to active duty in Europe in response to the Russia-Ukraine war.
Biden states in the order that “it is necessary to augment the active Armed Forces of the United States for the effective conduct of Operation Atlantic Resolve in and around the United States European Command’s area of responsibility.”
The order authorizes the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Homeland Security to order to active duty up to 3,000 reserve personnel to sustain the United States’ heightened presence in Europe following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is unclear whether the potential reservist callups will actually be deployed to Europe.
The operation will be designated as a contingency operation, said Army Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Sims II, Joint Staff director of operations, in a press briefing Thursday.
“This new designation benefits troops and families with increases in authorities, entitlements and access to the reserve component forces and personnel,” Sims said.
“This [executive order] reaffirms the unwavering support and commitment to defend NATO‘s eastern flank in the wake of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war on Ukraine,” Sims said.
According to U.S. European Command (EUCOM) spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Speaks, EUCOM is preparing to use this new authority to commit to NATO’s collective security.
“These authorities will ensure long-term resilience in [EUCOM]’s continued heightened level of presence and operations. This will not change current force-posture levels in Europe,” Speaks said in a release Thursday.
Speaks said the move by Biden is an important demonstration of the U.S. commitment to its allies and partners, and provides EUCOM with greater flexibility to provide key entitlements to the forces who support those commitments.