United States has placed 8,500 soldiers on heightened readiness as Ukraine tensions rise

According to information published by the U.S. Department of Defense on January 24, 2022, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has placed 8,500 U.S. soldiers to heightened preparedness to deploy given Russia's continuing provocations along its border with Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said on January 24, 2022.
Follow Army Recognition on Google News at this link

Army Recognition Global Defense and Security news
Airmen and civilians at Dover Air Force Base, Del., palletize ammunition, weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine, Jan. 21, 2022. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

During a press conference that was held on January 24, 2022, Kirby said the order highlights America's commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its commitment to the common defense. "As  the U.S President has made clear, the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us, our allies or partners,"

The 8,500 troops are based in the United States and would be part of the NATO Response Force if that group is activated. The American forces would be in addition to the significant combat-capable U.S. forces already based in Europe "to deter aggression and enhance the alliance's ability to defend allies and defeat aggression if necessary," Kirby said.

The NATO Response Force is a 40,000 multinational, multidomain construct. NATO has not yet activated the unit. Within the force is the "very high readiness joint task Force." This element of about 20,000 includes a multinational land brigade of around 5,000 troops and air, maritime and special operation forces components.

The personnel in these units are being told of the heightened preparedness to deploy today. What units are affected will be released once personnel and their families are informed, Kirby said.

If the NATO force is activated, Austin's order would allow the United States to rapidly deploy additional brigade combat teams, along with units specializing in logistics, medical, aviation, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, transportation, and more, he said.

Some of the units were already on a heightened readiness to deploy posture. Austin's decision shortened the tether. "In some cases, units would go from say 10 days to prepare to deploy, to five days," Kirby said.

For different units this will mean different things from ensuring vehicles are ready to checking communications systems to ensuring the "beans and bullets" needed are there. "I'm sure there are personnel readiness things that they have to do," Kirby said. "That again is one of the reasons why I'm not giving [out the names of] units today. The units are getting notified and we want to also give them time to talk about this with their families – this potential deployment order."