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U.S. ‘Defender’ Series of Military Exercises Aimed against Russia and China

Jan. 20, 2020 (EIRNS)—As a result of the 2018 National Security Strategy that deemed Russia and China to be adversaries of the United States, the U.S. military has been engaged in reorienting itself away from the anti-terrorism/counter-insurgency conflicts of Southwest Asia towards “big war” confrontations against both Russia and China. Two manifestations of this reorientation are the “Defender” series of exercises, Defender-Europe and Defender-Pacific.

Defender-Europe 2020, set to run in April and May of this year, is described by U.S. Army Europe as “the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe, the drawing of equipment and the movement of personnel and equipment across the theater to various training areas.” The Washington Times reported last October that some 20,000 soldiers are expected to be deployed from bases in the U.S. to ports of arrival in Europe, including Germany and Poland, and then depart for training areas all over Eastern Europe, including the Baltic states. Lt. Gen. Chris Cavoli, commander of U.S. Army Europe, told Defense News at the time that the exercise will “test the Army’s ability to deliver a force” from the U.S. “to operational areas throughout Europe from Germany to Poland to the Baltic States and other Eastern European nations, Nordic countries and even Georgia.”

This will be the largest such exercise since the Reforger exercises of the Cold War period.

On a smaller scale, Defender-Pacific 2020 will send 5,000-10,000 soldiers at a time on short-notice exercises of as long as 45 days, focused on the East and South China Seas. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy reported on Jan. 11 that the Army will also send two “Multi-Domain Task Forces” to the Pacific, one in 2020 and the second to follow in 2021. These are designed to “neutralize all the investments China and Russia have made,” in capabilities to keep U.S. Navy carrier task forces away from the Asian mainland, McCarthy said.

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