On July 29, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced new changes to U.S. basing posture in Europe that would result in more than 10,000 troops returning to the United States from bases in Germany, followed by a relocation of military personnel to Poland and Mons, Belgium. While most of the media attention has focused on the redeployment of forces from Europe back to the United States, a new strategic decision was made by the U.S. that will result in an increased military presence in NATO’s new front yard: the Black Sea.
During his Pentagon press conference, Esper announced that a U.S. Stryker brigade would be sent to the Black Sea in what will be the first significant U.S. military ground forces deployment to the region. The Black Sea has been the epicenter of Russia’s revisionist ambitions since its 2008 war with Georgia and its 2014 invasion and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea and invasion of Donbass. To highlight the changes in U.S. defense posture in the Black Sea, Esper described the move in the following strategic terms:
“Look at what we’re moving. What we’re doing is … we’re moving forces out of central Europe — Germany, where they had been since the Cold War, since I first traveled there in the early 1980s, and we’re now moving — we’re following, in many ways, the boundary east, where our newest allies are. So into the Black Sea region … That’s why it’s a strategic laydown that enhances deterrence, strengthens the allies, reassures them.” Läs artikel