By John A. Tirpak
The U.S. military told 8,500 troops in the continental U.S. to prepare to deploy to Europe for a potential Ukraine contingency within five days, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced Jan. 24. These troops would be the U.S. contribution to a 40,000-member NATO Response Force being organized in response to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, Kirby said. There has been no decision to actually deploy that force—and the troops now on alert may not go to Europe at all, Kirby said. The bulk of the units being alerted are Active-duty ground troops, he added.