Due to the coronavirus epidemic, NATO exercise "Defender 2020" will be reduced to its bare minimum

It had to to be NATO's response the gigantic exercises in real conditions recently carried out by Russia and its allies, especially during Vostok 2018, but also the largest military exercise carried out in Western Europe in a quarter of a century. Defender 2020, also called Defender, was to consist of deploying in Western Europe nearly 20.000 American soldiers, via transport by ships and planes staggered between the end of winter and the spring of 2020 to European ports and military bases. They would have joined about 17000 European soldiers there, making it possible to drive a series of maneuvers and exercises in ten countries, from Benelux to the Baltic States via Germany and Scandinavia. Several tens of thousands of vehicles also made the trip from the USA, not to mention the use of pre-positioned equipment in Europe. A homecoming for NATO which, during the Cold War, practiced annual Reforger exercises of troops deployments in West Germany.

At the time of writing, the Defender XNUMX exercise is still officially maintained, but its scope and ambitions have already been considerably reduced. Thus, in practice, the Defender XNUMX exercise, as it was originally planned, with a clear political and strategic objective, no longer exists because of the Covid-XNUMX epidemic. If it is not already purely and simply canceled, it is largely because it has de facto already started, with nearly XNUMX American soldiers - including an armored brigade - having been deployed at the end of January, then from February XNUMX . However, there is every reason to believe that things will not go much further for NATO forces.

As this infographic shows, the main exercises of Defender 2020 were to take place between the Baltic States and Belgium, with side exercises in Norway or Italy, not to mention the deployment of troops from all over Europe, including the France

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