The United States Army is reportedly planning its biggest deployment of troops to Europe in 25 years. According to international media, 20,000 troops have been slated to take part in a massive force projection exercise. The commander of US ground forces, General Christopher Cavoli reportedly said that the soldiers will be deployed next year to Europe where they will be joining some 9,000 other US soldiers already stationed there.
According to reports, approximately 37,000 troops will further take part in exercises across 10 European countries from May to June. Cavoli said that the aim of deploying the soldiers to Europe is to demonstrate the US military's ability to quickly deploy a large force to support NATO and respond to any crisis. He further added that the military's ability as an army to project power is absolutely fundamental to anything that they would get done. The US military will begin flowing in February with 13,000 pieces of equipment, including tanks, artillery and transport vehicles.
The massive force projection exercise comes at a time of increasingly adversarial relations with Russia. While talking to an international media outlet, Cavoli did not single out Russia as the focus, however, he said that its annexation of Crimea in 2014 changed everything. On the other hand, Russia is planning to arm its Northern Fleet's Arctic division with S-400 air defence system. A Russian naval commander on Monday said that Russia will create an air defence "dome" across its polar region to prevent an enemy aerial attack of any kind. Senior Russian military personnel said that the country is planning to deploy similar missile systems at all of their Arctic divisions to create an effective air defence dome in the Russian part of the region.
Russia's recent move is being closely watched by Washington as the United States is also a member of the Arctic Council. In July this year, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo acknowledged Russia's expanding military presence in the Arctic and expressed concern over aggressive Russian behaviour in the region. Similarly, in April this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin also complained about NATO's largest military exercise in the Arctic and said that Russia's aviation activity in the Baltic Sea Zone was of lower magnitude than the activity of NATO.