US can deploy military capabilities rapidly in Europe: Austin
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin details all the main topics of the DoD National Defense Strategy.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday that the US has the ability to "rapidly deploy capability to Europe" in light of the conflict in Ukraine, which has prompted the US to bolster its force posture in Europe.
Although US President Joe Biden still remains committed to not involving US forces directly in the conflict, NATO forces did take part in military exercises across several eastern European countries.
During a news briefing today at the Pentagon, Austin publicly announced the release of the unclassified Pentagon's National Defense Strategy document, which covered a number of priorities on the US military agenda.
According to Austin, the document describes Russia as being an "acute threat" and considers it poses a higher danger to US interests and values than China, the "pacing challenge".
.@SecDef: At the same time, the NDS bluntly describes Russia as an acute threat. And we chose the word “acute” carefully. pic.twitter.com/I9GBIrNVKl— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) October 27, 2022
He further made mention of the US nuclear arsenal and said, "The fundamental role of US nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack on the US, our allies, and our partners."
In light of recent warnings Russia issued about the plotting of a "dirty bomb" in Ukraine by Kiev forces, Austin was asked why the Pentagon decided to abandon a project on nuclear tactical weapons after doing the inventory of the US arsenal, to which he answered, "We determined as we looked at our inventory that we did not need that capability. We have a lot of capability in our nuclear inventory, and I don't think this sends any message to Putin. He understands what our capability is, and so, you know, we'll continue to move forward."
He further said that Russia, unlike China, cannot continue to challenge the US in the long term, "but Russian aggression does pose an immediate and sharp threat to our interests and values."
.@SecDef: As the President’s National Security Strategy notes, the PRC is the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the power to do so. pic.twitter.com/qD7PgRmrEn— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) October 27, 2022
Austin also announced that Ukrainian forces will receive training from the US to learn how to master and command the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) by early next month, adding that the US can train its troops there.
"We have been pressing hard to get them a NASAMS capability and we expect that early next month we'll be able to get the capability and train troops up there in Ukraine."
The first two NASAMS anti-aircraft systems for Ukraine were handed over to the US government two weeks ago - the CEO of the manufacturing company Greg Hayes. The system should consist of 12 launchers and 8 radars pic.twitter.com/evXcADKJYK— NOËL 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 (@NOELreports) October 26, 2022
On a final note, Austin said the US has been concerned about escalation, adding that "we have been so from the very beginning of this conflict, and that's why we believe that it's important to communicate with our allies and partners and also with our adversaries as long as we have the channels of communication open, and we're able to communicate."