Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark Milley in Tuesday's testimony before the House Armed Services Committee told Congressional leaders that the US should establish permanent military bases in Eastern Europe in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
He cited that allies Romania, Poland, and Baltic countries remain "very willing" to host US bases, and that "they'll build them, they'll pay for them." He testified alongside Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin. "My advice would be to create permanent bases, but don’t permanently station," Milley said.
He explained that this wouldn't necessitate permanently deployed forces, but with the same benefits: "You get the effect of permanence by rotational forces," the top general said.
Among other highlights in the House testimony was his being questioned over whether Vladimir Putin could have been deterred ahead of the Feb.24 invasion of Ukraine, short of a direct US-Russia clash. He said:
"Candidly, short of the commitment of US military forces into Ukraine proper, I'm not sure he was deterrable."
But he and Secretary Austin touted the Pentagon's robust response in assisting Ukrainian forces, including providing weapons as well as intelligence sharing:
"We've had extraordinary intelligence all throughout and the intelligence sharing that we've enabled Ukraine to see … the ability of us to transmit information that is useful to Ukraine has been enormously helpful," the US commander said.
On US weapons in the Ukraine war being a game-changer, Milley described, "We've seen them again blunt the advance of a far superior force with respect to the Russians in terms of numbers and capability by using the right types of techniques and the right weapon systems; the Javelin, the Stingers are proven to be very effective in the fight."
Gen. Milley further called Russia's action the "greatest threat to peace and security of Europe, perhaps the world in my 40 years of service and in uniform."
He described that it shakes the foundations of the current global order, specifically also mentioning China: "We are now facing two global powers, China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities," he said.
Secretary Austin backed Milley's Ukraine assessment, confirming that the US had provided Ukraine with one billion dollars in aid ahead of the Russian invasion...
.@SecDef: Even before Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion, we provided Ukraine with $1 billion worth of weapons and gear through presidential drawdown authority. Now, we are delivering on another $1 billion pledged by @POTUS Biden. pic.twitter.com/2IKJDQG8if
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) April 5, 2022
And on new cutting-edge drones, he confirmed the Pentagon will send Switchblade armor-penetrating drones to the Ukrainians, as Reuters reports:
The United States will send a variant of the Switchblade drone that has an anti-armor warhead to Ukraine as quickly as possible, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday. "The Switchblade 600 and 300 will move as quickly as they possibly can," Austin said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. The 600 variant has the anti-armor warhead and can loiter over a target for more than 40 minutes, according to AeroVironment, which makes the drones.
The Pentagon chief further said an additional billion dollars in "security assistance" has been approved and is being rushed, now on the way.