Defender Europe 2020: The largest military exercise in Europe in the last 25 years

Eric Sof

The largest military exercise in Europe in the last 25 years will be held next year across Europe. The US-led exercise will gather thousands of NATO troops. The United States will dispatch three tank brigades and thousands of soldiers, according to the Star and Stripes.

The large military exercise dubbed as the Defender Europe 2020 will be held in Europe next year. The drills will be conducted in ten countries, but primarily in Germany and Poland, according to the press service of the United States European Command (EUCOM).

It is planned to gather 37,000 military personnel to take part in the exercise, including 20,000 US troops. The military vehicles and equipment will start to arrive in Europe in February 2020, and the drills will be held over the course of April and May.

“Readiness is not only about having the right forces and capabilities in place throughout the theater, it’s about exercising our ability to quickly receive and integrate forces with our own and those of our allies and partners,” said Lieutenant General Christopher Cavoli, U.S. Army Europe commander, in a statement.

Germany will serve as the logistical center of the exercises, according to the German news outlet Der Spiegel. Der Spiegel also wrote that troops from 19 NATO states will participate in the maneuvers.

“These exercises will provoke a reaction from Russia, which will inevitably lead to further escalation. Apparently the word ‘de-escalation’ does not exist in NATO’s vocabulary,” observed Alexander Neu, a member of the German Bundestag’s defense committee. He urged Berlin to refuse to participate in the exercises and not to allow them to be held in German territory.

The large-scale exercises are organized in order to maintain the operability of different NATO countries and to bring the operating standards and procedures to the same level. In fact, it means that the exercise supports objectives defined by NATO to build readiness within the alliance and deter potential adversaries. It also has a purpose to show small NATO countries, especially those on the borders with Russia that they are not alone.

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