Up to 3,000 US troops will “augment” Ukraine-related operations in Europe, the White House said
President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that up to 3,000 members of the US military’s Selected Reserve will be activated as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the informal designation for Washington’s efforts to support Kiev in the ongoing conflict.
Biden has authorized the Defense and Homeland Security departments to “order to active duty any units, and any individual members not assigned to a unit organized to serve as a unit of the Selected Reserve, or any member in the Individual Ready Reserve mobilization category and designated as essential” by the department regulations.
The number of mobilized reservists is “not to exceed 3,000 total members at any one time, of whom not more than 450 may be members of the Individual Ready Reserve,” according to the White House.
Biden’s executive order cites section 12304 of Title 10 of US Code (General Military Act), allowing the president to call up reservists for situations “other than during war or national emergency,” including named operations or cases of “a use or threatened use of a weapon of mass destruction; or a terrorist attack or threatened terrorist attack” in the US that results or could result in “significant loss of life or property.”
The US military, however, described the mobilization’s as merely expanding entitlements and access to funding. Army Lieutenant General Douglas Sims, the Joint Staff director of operations, told the reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that the order “benefits troops and families with increases in authorities, entitlements and access to the reserve component forces and personnel.”
“This will not change current force-posture levels in Europe,” European Command (EUCOM) spokesman, Navy Captain Bill Speaks, said in a statement about the order, explaining that it is intended to “ensure long-term resilience in EUCOM’s continued heightened level of presence and operations.”
Operation Atlantic Resolve is the informal name for actions the US military has taken since April 2014, after Crimea rejoined Russia following the Washington-backed coup in Kiev.
The Selected Reserve consists of personnel who can be immediately mobilized in the event of an emergency. Members of the IRR are trained soldiers, some of whom have recently left active duty, but still have reserve obligations. Homeland Security is involved because the US Coast Guard is under its jurisdiction.