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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Bodies sprawled on the beach of Tarawa atoll after a battle there in late November 1943. (Associated Press photo)

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

The 18,000 Marines and sailors who landed on the island of Betio in the Tarawa atoll in the Pacific Ocean early on November 20, 1943, waded into what one combat correspondent called "the toughest battle in Marine Corps history."

After 76 hours of fighting, the battle for Betio was over on November 23. More than 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and nearly 2,300 wounded. Four Marines received the Medal of Honor for their actions — three posthumously.

Of roughly 4,800 Japanese troops defending the island, about 97% were killed. All but 17 of the 146 prisoners captured were Korean laborers.

"Betio would be more habitable if the Marines could leave for a few days and send a million buzzards in," Robert Sherrod, a correspondent for Time, wrote after the fighting.

The victory at Tarawa "knocked down the front door to the Japanese defenses in the Central Pacific," Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific fleet, said afterward.

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The chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday expressing concern about staffing vacancies in the office overseeing special operations — the same day that the head of that office resigned.

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

In September 1940, World War II was a year old. The US was still a noncombatant, but it was preparing for a fight.

That month, the US introduced the Selective Training and Service Act — the first peacetime draft in US history. Mobilizing the millions of troops was a monumental task and essential to deploying "the arsenal of democracy" that President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on Americans to provide.

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

Coast Guard crew members aboard the cutter Valiant intercepted a self-propelled semi-submersible carrying 12,000 pounds of cocaine in the eastern Pacific Ocean this month, arresting four suspected smugglers in the process.

The 40-foot vessel, of a type often called a "narco sub" (though most are not fully submersible), was first detected and tracked by a maritime patrol aircraft. The Joint Interagency Task Force South, a multinational body that coordinates law-enforcement efforts in the waters around Central and South America, directed the Valiant to intercept it.

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