President Biden Authorizes Mobilization of 3,000 Reserve Troops for Ukraine Defense Operation

President Joe Biden signed an order on Thursday allowing the Pentagon to call up as many as 3,000 reserve troops to support Operation Atlantic Resolve in Europe.

He wrote, “In accordance with section 12304(f) of title 10, United States Code, I am providing notice that I have authorized the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Department of the Navy, to order to active duty members and units of the Selected Reserve and appropriately designated Individual Ready Reserve members, without the consent of the member concerned, pursuant to 12304(a) of title 10, United States Code.  “Reserve mobilizations under this authorization are 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.  These Reserve Component forces are to augment the active forces for Operation Atlantic Resolve to enhance the United States’ ability to sustain its heightened level of presence and operations in support of United States European Command. “A copy of the Executive Order I have issued is enclosed.”

Operation Atlantic Resolve began in 2014 in response to the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and it “provides rotational deployments of combat-credible forces to Europe to show our commitment to NATO while building readiness, increasing interoperability, and enhancing the bonds between ally and partner militaries,” per U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s website.

Although the order grants the Pentagon the authority to mobilize reserve troops, it remains unclear whether they will actually activate additional reservists. In response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration increased the troop presence in Europe by around 20,000 troops last year, resulting in a total of approximately 100,000 U.S. forces stationed on the continent.

“The designation of OAR as a contingency operation is an important demonstration of the U.S. commitment to our NATO Allies and partners,” U.S. European Command Spokesperson U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Speaks said. “It further provides US EUCOM with greater flexibility to support continued U.S. and Allied commitments to the defense of the Euro-Atlantic and allows us to provide key entitlements to the forces who support those commitments.”

The Selected Reserve refers to individuals who have voluntarily joined the military and maintain part-time service obligations. They undergo training and remain ready while balancing civilian commitments. The Individual Ready Reserve, on the other hand, consists of former active duty or reserve members who have completed their service but may still be recalled if necessary.

Over the past year and a half, the United States has extended more than $40 billion in military aid to Ukraine in response to Russia’s invasion. In a recent development, the administration made a notable shift in its position by deciding to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions. These munitions are a specific type of weapon that is banned by over a hundred countries due to the significant threat they pose to civilians.

President Biden approved the provision of cluster munitions to Ukraine, citing the country’s extensive use of other munitions, which had resulted in the depletion of U.S. stockpiles. As of Thursday, it has been confirmed that the United States has delivered cluster munitions to Ukraine.

By Melinda Davies
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