(WWTI) — Thousands of U.S. troops have been directed to prepare for a potential deployment amid tensions in Russia.

On January 24, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby held a press briefing regarding military activity in Russia, near the Ukrainian border.

In the press conference, Secretary Kirby said that the U.S. is “deeply concerned” about tensions in Russia, and is “consulting extensively with [its] transatlantic allies and partners.”

However, Secretary Kirby confirmed that to support the security and defense of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and following recommendations made by U.S. Secretary of Defense Llyod Auction, a range of units in the United State have been placed on a heightened preparedness to deploy.

This includes 40,000 multinational troops that make up the NATO Response Force, the NATO Response Force element, which is comprised of 20,000 troops across all domains as well as 5,000 additional troops in air, maritime and special operation force components.

“As part of that commitment, the Department of Defense maintains significant combat-capable forces forward in Europe to deter aggression and enhance the alliance’s ability to defend allies and defeat aggression if necessary,” Secretary Kirby said in his press briefing.

Secretary Kirby stated that if NATO activates the NATO Response Force, or the security environment deteriorated, the U.S. would be in a position to “rapidly deploy” into Europe.

However, Kirby concluded his briefing by saying:

“No decisions have been made to deploy any forces from the United States at this time.  And when I say heightened alert, in some cases some of these forces were already on a heightened posture, readiness to deploy posture and the secretary decided to make it even more — shorten the tether even more.”

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby’s full press briefing can be found on the Department of Defense website.