NATO Preparations Underway for Huge Defender-Europe Exercise on Russia’s Doorstep
Feb. 1, 2020 (EIRNS)—NATO’s level of exercise activity will continue unabated in 2020, to be capped by Defender-Europe 20, which will see the largest deployment of troops from the United States to Europe since the Reforger exercises of the Cold War. A planning workshop for Defender-Europe was staged in Warsaw yesterday, the public portion of which included remarks from U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, Maj. Gen. Joe Jarrard, U.S. Army Europe Deputy Commanding General for Army National Guard, and Gen. Jaroslaw Mika, the General Commander of the Polish Armed Forces in Warsaw. “This exercise is not just symbolic, it gets to the heart of what we mean when we talk about collective European security,” said Mosbacher, reported DOD News. “In a crisis, NATO must be able to respond as quickly as possible. Defender-Europe 20 simply could not happen without Poland.” She further said that the participation of the U.S. forces in these maneuvers is proof of “unmoved” involvement of Americans in issues of Europe and the collective defense. Poland will deploy 2,000 troops, heavy equipment and air forces. Polish police, fire department and Border Guard will also be involved.
Some logistical elements of the exercise already kicked off on Jan. 21 when the U.S. Army announced that participating units at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss in Texas, and Fort Stewart, Georgia were to begin preparing and loading for transport, vehicles, heavy equipment and materials for shipment to Europe by the end of February.
Stars & Stripes, in its coverage of the Army announcement, wrote that once in Europe, personnel will take part in drills focused on defending NATO territory, such as the so-called Suwalki Gap, a 40-mile stretch of borderland between Lithuania and Poland that runs from Belarus to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic.