U.S. President Joe Biden is ramping up U.S. military presence in Europe in preparation for a potential conflict with Russia.
Arriving in Madrid on Wednesday for the yearly NATO summit, Biden, who faces numerous challenges at home with the sharp rise in inflation and terminally ongoing supply chain shortages, has turned his gaze outside of the United States to focus on European issues.
Speaking at the summit, Biden announced a significant increase in U.S. military deployments in Europe with additional troops and weaponry. The move will be part of the largest scaling up of NATO since the Cold War.
Biden vowed to enhance American military presence in Europe to “defend every inch of allied territory.”
As part of its expansion in Europe, the United States will establish a permanent headquarters for the 5th Army Corps in Poland, deploy 5,000 additional troops to Romania, and increase rotational deployments in the Baltic states.
Biden said that the efforts are designed to enhance NATO’s first line of defense against possible incursions by Russia, Reuters reported.
In addition to ramping up its ground presence in Europe, Biden is deploying two squadrons of F-35 fighters to the U.K., in addition to stationing new air defense systems in both Italy and Germany. The U.S. Navy will also increase the number of destroyers in Spain from four to six.
The troop increase comes in addition to the more than 100,000 U.S. troops already stationed in various locations throughout Europe, which were already increased by 20,000 since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
Other NATO member states are expected to announce increases in military spending and expansion of their own military commitments to the alliance.
At the summit, NATO extended its formal invitations to both Finland and Sweden, a day after Turkey dropped its veto on their membership applications on Tuesday.
Biden says that the moves to strengthen NATO will “send an unmistakable message that NATO is strong and united.”
“In a moment where Putin has shattered peace in Europe and attacked the very tenets of the rule-based order, the United States and our allies are stepping up,” Biden added. “The steps we’re taking during this summit are going to further augment our collective strength.”
“The U.S. will enhance our force posture in Europe, and respond to the changed security environment to defend every inch of allied territory,” Biden said.
The new deployments come as NATO sets up a new defense strategy to increase the number of troops on high alert by at least seven times to more than 300,000.