The Pentagon is planning for the possibility of surging troop levels in Europe to respond to a provocation from Russia, and is working to pre-position its heavy equipment on the continent, the commander of U.S. forces there said Friday.
"The ability to rapidly reinforce Europe will rely first on fast-moving troops falling in on pre-positioned materials," European Command chief Gen. Philip Breedlove told reporters at the Pentagon.
He said the Army has already shipped equipment for one heavy brigade into a pre-positioned site, and more are expected to arrive in the next few months. Meanwhile, U.S. troops will rotate through duty assignments and exercises in the region, such as NATO's current Trident Juncture, which involves 36,000 troops from 30 countries.
"I continue to believe that we must strengthen our deterrence," said Breedlove, who's also NATO supreme allied commander for Europe. "Europe isn't what it was 18 months ago, or even six months ago, and new threats and challenges emerge almost every day."