Activating Reservists for Military Support to Ukraine

On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing the Pentagon to activate reservists “for the effective conduct” of American military assistance to Ukraine.

The Pentagon also referred to Operation Atlantic Resolve’s military assistance to Ukraine since 2014 as a “contingency operation.”

In a letter to Congress, Biden stated: “By the powers vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 121 and 12304 of title 10, United States Code, I hereby determine that it is necessary to augment the active Armed Forces of the United States for the effective conduct of Operation Atlantic Resolve in and around the United States European Command’s area of responsibility.”

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014, Operation Atlantic Resolve was launched in order to increase American military presence.

In the message, Biden stated that he gave the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to order any units or individuals who are not assigned to a unit to active duty.

He stated in the message that there would never be more than 3,000 total members and no more than 450 Individual Ready Reserve members. According to Pentagon officials, no troops would be sent to Ukraine for hostilities.

The Joint Staff J3 director of operations, Army Lieutenant General D.A. Sims, stated to the media: “Based on the level of presence and operations in the U.S. [European Command] area of operations, DOD’s support requirements have also increased.”  These powers will give the department the ability to better support and maintain its increased operations and presence in the U.S. EUCOM [area of responsibility].

In the wake of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war on Ukraine, he added, the actions “reaffirm the unwavering support and commitment to the defense of NATO’s eastern flank.”

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The designation of Operation Atlantic Resolve as a contingency operation “unlocks capabilities and authorities that…enables us to better support and sustain our forces,” according to Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder. This therefore covers things like better contract responsiveness and entitlements for personnel that give activated reservists the same benefits as active component personnel.

Ryder added that it improved the Pentagon’s capacity to monitor expenditures directly related to the contingency. He declared that while the United States would not increase its military presence in Europe, it would allow the Pentagon to substitute reservists for some troops if necessary.

It gives reserve component forces more access, which is what it does. As a result, you can now request the assistance of Guard or reserve forces to support Atlantic Resolve and receive the same benefits as their active duty counterparts, the official said.

So, he continued, “it’s not additional forces, it’s unlocking additional forces for use in support of this operation.

Just one day after leaving a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where NATO members vowed to continue supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, Biden issued his executive order. The United States has “given more than any other nation combined in terms of assistance and cost,” according to Biden’s statement at the summit.

The United States has provided more than $78 billion in government aid since January 24, 2022, including more than $43 billion in military aid, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

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