The US Army in Europe and Africa announced the beginning of preparations for the upcoming Defender Europe 21 military exercises that will take place in Spring and Summer this year. More than 30,000 soldiers from 27 nations are going to conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in 12 countries.
Defender Europe is divided into several linked exercises that will take place from early May up to the end of June. According to the US Army these exercises includes:
Swift Response (early to mid-May) – will include airborne operations in Estonia, Bulgaria, and Romania involving more than 7,000 troops from 11 countries.
Immediate Response (mid-May through early-June) – more than 5,000 troops from 8 countries will spread out across 31 training areas in 12 different countries to conduct live-fire training. A Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore operation will also occur.
Saber Guardian (mid-May through early-June) – more than 13,000 service members from 19 countries will conduct live fire and air and missile defense operations, plus a large-scale medical evacuation.
Command Post Exercise (June) – approximately 2,000 personnel will exercise the headquarters’ ability to command multinational land forces in a joint and combined training environment while maintaining real-world operations across 104 countries on two continents.
Parallel, but not directly linked, to Defender Europe 21, two exercises will take place in other parts of the World, namely:
African Lion (mid-May through mid-June) – the U.S. Africa Command premier annual training event in which nearly 5,000 military personnel from approximately 24 nations will train on medical readiness, perform large-scale live-fire exercises, and conduct air, maritime and forward command post training exercises. Activities will occur primarily in Morocco.
Steadfast Defender (mid-May through early-June) – a new series of NATO exercises focused on the transatlantic reinforcement of Europe and demonstrates NATO’s ability to respond rapidly to the full spectrum of threats. Exercises activities will occur.
Although the last Defender Europe 20 was scaled back due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the safety measures are going to be increased, including the pre-deployment tests, additional quarantine upon troops arrival, and in-exercise testing.
Defender Europe 21 will again focus on NATO’s capability to react to the threats of modern conflicts and will test the responses of the states to act appropriately to the situation.
As always it will be a great chance for the exchange of experience between various nations. Yet, the overall plan of Defender Europe shows a change in approach to the potential conflict with the focus given on combined arms exercises.
For the time being, the troops and equipment are in transit to their European bases and will continue their deployment up until early May. We will inform of any updates on the Defender Europe 21 when the exercises begin.