President Joe Biden pumps his fist as he poses with other NATO leaders Wednesday, July 10, 2024, for an official photo at the NATO summit in Washington.

President Joe Biden pumps his fist as he poses with other NATO leaders Wednesday, July 10, 2024, for an official photo at the NATO summit in Washington. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

The United States will step up the deployment of long-range artillery units to Germany in the next two years, a precursor to the permanent basing of those forces and hypersonic weapon systems under development, the White House said Wednesday.

The announcement was made during NATO’s summit in Washington and is a step forward for the U.S. Army in Europe, which has made such weapon systems a top priority in its military buildup efforts.

President Joe Biden, who kicked off high-level security talks with other NATO heads of state Wednesday, said allies are making moves to fortify defenses against Russia, including efforts to enhance an industrial base that has been stretched by the effort to support Ukraine in its war against Russia.

“Today, we have to ask ourselves, what is next? How can we keep making the shield stronger?” Biden told other world leaders gathered in Washington.

Biden’s statement coincided with an announcement by Germany and the United States that more forces are deploying to Europe.

The White House in a statement said the United States will begin episodic deployments of the long-range fire capabilities for its Multi-Domain Task Force in Germany in 2026. That is part of a plan to establish an “enduring stationing of these capabilities in the future,” the statement said.

The plan calls for a mix of firepower.

“When fully developed, these conventional long-range fires units will include SM-6 and Tomahawk [missiles], and developmental hypersonic weapons, which have significantly longer range than current land-based fires in Europe,” the statement said.

In 2021, the Army launched the 2nd Multi-Domain Task Force at U.S. Army Europe and Africa headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany. The unit is designed to give the command capabilities beyond conventional ground-war tactics. During the same year, the Army also relaunched 56th Artillery Command, a mainstay in Europe during the Cold War. The command’s return was part of a broader effort to reestablish long-range firepower in Europe in response to concerns about Russian aggression.

Biden said Russia is now on a “wartime footing” with respect to defense production. Moscow is ramping up its industrial base with support from China, North Korea and Iran, he said.

“We cannot in my view, we cannot allow the alliance to fall behind,” Biden said.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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