The US is plotting one of its largest European military exercises since the Cold War

The exercise includes a total of 37,000 troops — including 20,000 US and service members from 18 other countries

A massive military exercise in Europe involving 20,000 U.S.-based troops will kick off in February of next year, the Army officially announced on Monday.

Approximately 37,000 total service members will participate in Defender Europe 2020, including 20,000 U.S. troops and additional personnel from 18 other countries. Lt. Gen. Chris Cavoli, commander of U.S. Army Europe, told Defense News it will be the third largest exercise in Europe since the Cold War.

“Defender Europe 2020 is a great opportunity to demonstrate the U.S. Army's unmatched ability to rapidly project forces across the globe while operating alongside our allies and partners in multiple contested domains,” Army Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, said in the Army's press release.

The exercise is scheduled for April to May 2020, according to a separate press release; personnel and equipment will be moving from February through July 2020. It will span across 10 countries. The hope is to demonstrate the Army's “ability to deploy large units to Europe…for the deterrence of an aggressive Russia,” as Defense News reports.

According to the release, a U.S. Army division headquarters, three armored brigade combat teams, a fires brigade, and a sustainment brigade will be participating, alongside Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps service members.

Cavoli said, per Defense News, 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.”

Monday's announcement comes just one year after 50,000 U.S. and NATO troops — along with 65 ships, 10,000 vehicles, and 150 aircraft — came together for the biggest Trident Juncture exercise in almost three decades and NATO's largest since the end of the Cold War.

The Army has also been planning a similar exercise in the Indo-Pacific that will see 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers deploy, according to Army Times.

Haley Britzky
Haley Britzky

is the Army reporter for Task & Purpose, covering the daily happenings in the Army and how they impact soldiers and their families, as well as broader national security issues. Originally from Texas, Haley previously worked at Axios before joining Task & Purpose in January 2019. Contact the author here.

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