There are no signs that American troops will be deployed to Ukraine, however, and no U.S. forces are currently fighting there as the country continues to deal with Russian attacks.
Tens of thousands of troops were sent to Europe last year following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Although there has not been any news on whether Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin intends to use the order to deploy reservists any time soon, this move does suggest that the current military missions in Europe are putting a strain on existing active duty forces.
The executive order came shortly after the president's European trip, which included stops in Finland, Lithuania and the U.K. and was intended as a demonstration of the strength of the international coalition standing against the Ukraine invasion.
Ukraine did not succeed in obtaining a clear path to NATO membership as they had hoped, but Biden did promise to support the country's long-term security even without official NATO membership.
At the NATO summit in Lithuania, allies promised to prepare 300,000 troops for rapid deployment in the next month.
The executive order provides official authorization to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense to send active duty units and individuals who are assigned to selected reserve units, along with individual ready reserve members.
Joint Staff Director of Operations Army Lieutenant General Douglas A. Sims II said: “This [executive order] reaffirms the unwavering support and commitment to defend NATO’s eastern flank in the wake of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war on Ukraine.”
The order also designated Operation Atlantic Resolve a contingency operation. This means that the Pentagon has the power to call up its reserve forces and fast-track supplying them with needed equipment. This designation also means that reservists will receive the pay and support that active duty troops are entitled to.
The order also stipulates that no more than 3,000 members overall can be activated at a single time, and only 450 of them can be members of the Individual Ready Reserve, who are trained soldiers who have already served in the selective reserve or active army in the past.
Leaders of the NATO alliance have been moving to bolster Ukraine’s arsenal. France is providing them with long-range missiles, and they have already begun receiving cluster munitions from the U.S.
At remarks made in Finland, Biden expressed his belief that Putin has already lost the war, saying that “There is no possibility of him winning.” He added that he believes Russia will run out of resources, although he conceded that he was not sure when that would happen.
Some critics have accused Biden of starting World War III with the move. The founder of Students for Trump, Ryan Fournier, tweeted: "Biden is now calling U.S. Military reserves to active duty in Europe for 'Operation Atlantic Resolve.' These people really want WW3."
A former member of President Trump's legal team, attorney Jenna Ellis, echoed this sentiment, tweeting “WW3 is coming” while sharing an article about the new executive order. Several military veterans have voiced similar concerns about Biden looking to escalate the conflict by calling up the reserve troops.
Sources for this article include: