U.S. Army armored units in Poland. (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Michael Eaddy)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

At the beginning of 2017, after Dutch fighter pilots deployed to Lithuania on a Baltic Air Policing rotation called home using their own phones, their families started getting sinister phone calls.

The men on the calls, made with pre-paid sim cards, spoke English with Russian accents, according to reports in Dutch media, and would ask the recipients questions like "Do you know what your partner is doing there?" and "Wouldn't it be better if he left?"

Later that summer, after U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher L'Heureux took command of a NATO base in Poland, he returned to his truck after a drill to find someone had breached his personal iPhone, turning on lost mode and trying to get around a second password using Russian IP address.

"It had a little Apple map, and in the center of the map was Moscow," L'Heureux, who was stationed not far from a major Russian military base, told The Wall Street Journal in 2017. "It said, 'Somebody is trying to access your iPhone.'"

Those incidents and others like them reflect ongoing efforts by Russians to misinform and intimidate civilians and troops in Europe and abroad.

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A U.S. Army M1A2 Abrams tank is raised over the pier at the Port of Vlissingen, Netherlands, to be lowered onto a low-barge ship for transport elsewhere in Europe, October 12, 2019. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Kyle Larsen)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Since Russia's 2014 incursion in Ukraine, NATO leaders have been focused on securing the alliance's eastern flank.

But defending that boundary and deterring threats to member countries there takes more than just deploying troops. It means moving them in and out, and, if necessary, reinforcing them, and that's something that's always on U.S. and European military commanders' minds.

"I will tell you that when I go to sleep at night, it's probably the last thought I have, that we need to continue to improve upon, and we are, from a road, rail, and air perspective, in getting large quantities of hardware and software from west to east on continent," U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, head of U.S. European Command, said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.

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When the Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook sailed into the Baltic Sea in April 2016, it had been more than two years since Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine.

Tensions between Russia and its NATO and European neighbors were still high, and the intervening period had seen a number of uncomfortable and even unsafe encounters between their forces, for which NATO often criticized Russia.

Adm. James Foggo, then a vice admiral in charge of the Navy's Sixth Fleet, had those in mind as the Cook sailed into the Baltic.

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U.S. forces in Europe are getting smarter and more flexible. But they still lack firepower.

That's one problem that U.S. Air Force general Tod Wolters, the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, described in a wide-ranging interview that Air Force magazine published in April 2019.

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A U.S. service member has been released after being detained at the Istanbul airport over allegations that he was linked to cleric Fethullah Gülen, a top spokeswoman for U.S. European Command confirmed.

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The Department of Defense is reportedly analyzing whether or not it is feasible to conduct a large-scale withdrawal or transfer of U.S. troops in Germany, according to a Washington Post report published on Friday.

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