While in Europe for a NATO summit with world leaders, President Joe Biden plans to announce the extension of some of the increased U.S. troop presence in Poland and changes to U.S. deployments in several Baltic countries that he authorized ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said two defense officials, two former administration officials and a European official.
The changes to the U.S. troop footprint could affect countries such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. To the extent that new troops could be deploying to the region more permanently, officials said the number would be minimal but that several hundred could remain in Poland on a more permanent basis.
The White House declined to comment.
Administration officials signaled before the trip that Biden could announce U.S. troop changes and that NATO allies could disclose changes in their force postures, as well. Biden is in Germany for the summit of the Group of Seven major industrialized countries and then heads to the NATO summit in Spain.
Biden could also announce that the U.S. Navy presence at Naval Station Rota in Spain could increase by two ships over the next few years, officials said.
The potential announcements would follow a new $450 million U.S. military aid package for Ukraine, which the administration made public Thursday, and plans for the administration to provide Ukraine with a new surface-to-air missile system. The changes in U.S. troop posture in Eastern Europe would also come amid questions about how long it will be before Ukraine and Russia determine it is time to negotiate an agreement to end the conflict.
In a preview of the NATO summit this week, a senior administration official said leaders of countries that are part of the alliance “will announce new force posture commitments to strengthen NATO’s defense and deterrent posture.”
“As we have seen in the last number of months, the United States was very quick to surge additional forces to NATO to reassure our allies, especially those on the eastern flank,” the official said.