Lloyd Austin, secretary of the Department of Defense and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, said that although the Russian conflict with Ukraine is not unavoidable, “there is still time and space for diplomacy,” DOD News reported Friday.
“The United States, in lockstep with our allies and partners, has offered Russia a path away from crisis and toward greater security, and the Department of Defense will continue to support those diplomatic efforts,” Austin told reporters Friday.
He said the U.S. military is taking measures to back NATO allies, including strengthening security on the alliance’s eastern flank.
“We placed thousands of U.S. troops on ‘prepare-to-deploy’ orders earlier this week,” Austin said. “If NATO activates its response forces, these troops will be ready to go.”
Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a four-time Wash100 Award recipient, joined Austin during a press conference at the Pentagon.