Washington’s top general on Tuesday threw cold water on questions about the need for additional military deployments to the Middle East to fend off a series of tense encounters with US aircraft initiated by Russian pilots over Syria.
“There’s been an uptick, but I wouldn’t overstate it too much,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley said during a press briefing alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon. “We’ve got adequate capabilities to defend ourselves.”
Why it matters: The Pentagon is aiming to maintain an edge over the Kremlin’s pilots in Syria without dragging them into an escalation cycle by amassing more forces just yet.
Milley’s comments came one day after Washington announced plans to send high-end F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to the Middle East on the heels of a short-term rotation of super-advanced stealth F-22 Raptors to Jordan. Both deployments were intended to dissuade Russian pilots from harassing US forces.