Nominee for appointment to be Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that if confirmed, he would make it a high priority to review US force posture in the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean regions.
“If confirmed, I will make it a high priority to review our force posture in this region to ensure the strength of our deterrence along NATO’s Eastern and Southern Flanks and our continued mobility in response to crises. U.S. and NATO force posture in the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean regions is key in deterring Russian aggression,” Lloyd Austin said in answers to the Senate Armed Services Committee Advance Policy questions.
He admitted, however, that “Russia’s strategic goals in the Black Sea include maintaining access to the Mediterranean Sea and facilitating the defense of the Russian homeland”.
“In the eastern Mediterranean, Russia seeks to expand power projection capabilities, demonstrate expeditionary reach to potential partners, and influence a variety of ongoing diplomatic and regional issues in its favor,” he said
“Russia’s maritime activities in the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea are also likely intended to maintain pressure as part of its ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine and Georgia, challenge U.S. and allied operations and freedom of maneuver, and to put in place the necessary pieces to complicate U.S. warfighting operations,” Lloyd Austin said.