FORT BENNING, Ga. – Trainees from the 1st Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment, 194th Armored Brigade conduct tank live fire training Jan, 20, 2022 at Hastings Range.
FORT BENNING, Ga. – Trainees from the 1st Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment, 194th Armored Brigade conduct tank live fire training Jan, 20, 2022 at Hastings Range. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Fort Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence photographer) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has directed that 7,000 U.S. service members be deployed to Germany to enhance deterrence of Russia.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has ordered the deployment of those 7,000 service members. The major unit in this tranche of troops is the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia, said a senior defense official speaking on background.

Enabling units will also deploy. The troops will be going to Germany "to reassure NATO allies, deter Russian aggression and to be prepared to support a range of other requirements in the region," the official said.

This means some 12,000 U.S. troops, total, have deployed or been ordered to deploy to Europe from the United States and another 2,000 troops in Europe who have moved closer to NATO's eastern flank. They join 80,000 U.S. service members based in Europe. Adding in the service members of NATO members on the continent, this brings the number to more than 2 million, the official said.

Some of the U.S. troops deploying are from the group Austin put on a heightened state of readiness in January, the official said.

The troops will deploy to Germany initially, the official said. They could be repositioned to other NATO countries as needed. "We expect them to depart [the United States] in coming days," the official said.

Russian forces continue to attack in Ukraine at the major population centers of Kyiv – the capital — and Kharkiv, in the eastern part of the country. The official said that Ukrainian units are fighting the Russian invasion, but there is no way to categorize their resistance.

Russia has launched at least 160 short-range, medium-range and cruise missiles into Ukraine from land, sea and air, the official said, and more Russian troops have entered Ukraine. The missiles are aimed at military bases and airfields around Kharkiv and Kyiv. Again, there is no way to verify how accurate they are or what casualties they are causing.