US Army Readying Largest Deployment to Europe in 25 Years

20,000 US soldiers and 33,000 pieces of equipment to take part in military drills in Eastern Europe

The U.S. Army revealed details upcoming, largest deployment of U.S.-based Soldiers for an exercise to Europe in 25 years.

More than 20,000 troops and 20,000 pieces of equipment shipped from the U.S., as well as 13,000 pieces drawn from prepositioned stocks, will participate in the Defender-Europe 20 exercise.

Defender-Europe 20 is slated to be the largest deployment of U.S.-based Soldiers for an exercise to Europe in 25 years, according to Army News Service.

The exercise kicks off a new Defender series of exercises, which will be conducted in the Pacific on alternate years, to rehearse large movements to both regions. The exercises aim to operationalize the National Defense Strategy, which asserts Russia and China as near-peer adversaries.

“We are starting it with a bang,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of U.S. Army Europe, during a panel discussion at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.

After the last U.S. tanks left Germany in 2013 as part of a drawdown, the Army began nine-month rotations of brigade combat teams to bolster its presence and practice rapidly deploying units to Europe. It also built up prepositioned stocks on the continent to equip incoming units.

In March, an emergency deployment readiness exercise sent an armored unit of over 1,500 Soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, to Europe. In less than two days, the unit was able to fall in on prepositioned stocks and travel to Poland for a live-fire exercise, Cavoli said.

“We’ve been practicing this strategy of power projection for about three to four years now into Europe,” he said. “Now it’s time to practice it at scale.”

Defender 20 plans to have U.S. Soldiers from five divisions — 1st Cavalry, 82nd Airborne, 1st Armored, 1st Infantry and 3rd Infantry — as well as 11 National Guard states and seven Army Reserve units.

It will consist of five phases with several key objectives across Europe.

The first phase includes a reception, staging, onward movement and integration, or RSOI, of a division-sized element while many other units, including a National Guard brigade, will draw prepositioned stocks in Belgium and Germany.

In the second phase, an immediate response force from the 82nd Airborne Division will conduct joint forcible entries into the country of Georgia.

The third phase has a division command post exercise that will have units spread out across the continent. It will also involve a Joint Warfighting Assessment to test multi-domain operations as well as capabilities being pursued by Army Futures Command.

Soldiers will then conduct a river crossing in the fourth phase, as well as forward passage of lines and a maritime prepositioned force off-load mission. The fifth phase will consolidate Army forces and redeploy them.

The exercise will cover 4,000 kilometers of convoy routes and rely on 10 European countries to host exercise activities.

Allies and partners will also get the opportunity to train alongside U.S. Soldiers, increasing interoperability within the NATO alliance.

“Defender really helps us enhance relationships,” said Lt. Gen. J.T. Thomson, commander of Allied Land Command, which oversees NATO land forces.

More than half of NATO’s member states, he said, will play a role in the exercise.

“Cohesive multinational forces give us a competitive advantage, no doubt about it,” Thomson said during the panel. “When you look at our adversaries, they do not enjoy the advantages we have and the power of synergy that comes from good, trusted friends.”

While there are similarities to the REFORGER exercise, or Return of Forces to Germany, which practiced deploying Army units into Europe during the Cold War, leaders say that Defender will be more complex.

“We cannot fail prey to nostalgia of REFORGER and think Defender Europe is just a reincarnation,” Thomson said. “Our security environment has changed significantly in terms of geography and borders [and] in terms of allies and partners.”

Technology and doctrine, he noted, is also different, as well as threats in the region.

Source: Defence Blog

  1. JustPassingThrough says

    makes the keystone cops look like serious drama.

  2. LS says

    Please, send your best equipment. Because if you push Russia too far it is all going to end up on trains heading east, and I would not want to see the Russians waste time and energy transporting the out-dated stuff. And make sure your soldiers have good quality, warm clothing, because they will need it when they are standing in windswept fields waiting to be processed by the Russian army.

  3. Peter Jennings says

    Perhaps this ‘synergy’ Mr Thomson speaks of is just plain old provocation and warmongering.

    Running around the borders of Russia proves nothing but the wanton capitulation of those countries to US projections. That should at least keep the LGBT+ crowd in the ranks happy.

    I hope the people of those countries involved are happy being the first line of defence for america, and the first in line for a frontline hellhole. The american’s, as usual would rather they fought their wars on any ground but their own.

    1. DarkEyes says

      I believe if the people of Europe and especially the eastern part of Europa have read the events

      in North-Syria where US “failed defending the Kurts against murderer Assad”
      the US “failed to defend Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries against Houthis’ missiles”.

      The US is not your friend, it is the AIPAC Government which is warmongering with everybody and keen to let other do their dirty jobs, like vassal Europe.

      Massiver exercises, good grieve, if this is a way to get votes in 2020 I must say the show costs a lot of Greens and with 22 trillion USDollars debts, not bad.

      It could also be an socalled “exercise” but used as a cover to detach 20,000 GIs in Poland permanently. Poland begged the US to occupy Poland ASAP with everything that goes with it. They argued the Russians are invading Poland.

      US keep smiling while the Poles pay the entire move to Poland.

      1. Yarpen Zigrin says

        Well, I start to believe there is some truth in the infamous Polish jokes. Current Polish government is as dumb as they get.

  4. CHUCKMAN says

    “We are starting it with a bang.”

    Enthusiasm in pursuit of mindless waste and destruction.

    1. silver7 says

      The start of massive scare mongering. All done with relative light technical jargan and games operational basis. The obvious is its a good destruction of Eurpean soil while America stands watching somewhat like another place we know without a care in the world of course.

  5. Feudal Peasant says

    Boys with toys.

    1. Richard Hollembeak says

      Toys bought and paid for by the working peasants that no longer can afford to put a roof over their heads or afford to raise a family without begging their masters in DC for help .

      1. Mary E says

        Why, that sounds just like you are describing Americans!
        I’ll bet you anything that there are more homeless in America living on the streets than there are in all of Europe!

  6. Mary E says

    Very suspect adventure of the US military! They are not there to play defense war games, they are there to practice getting together for a war against Russia and China…
    which would be a total failure before it even got started. How delusional are these people from the West anyway?!? Hint: Very

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