May 19, 2024
20,000 U.S. troops deploying to Europe in biggest show of force since Cold War
U.S. soldiers train in Lithuania on Feb. 2, 2016. Such exercises may become more common with NATO allies as military officials scout out locations for new bases in Germany.
U.S. soldiers train in Lithuania on Feb. 2, 2016. Such exercises may become more common with NATO allies as military officials scout out locations for new bases in Germany.

About 20,000 U.S. troops will soon begin flooding into Europe as part of a massive, months-long military exercise that has been compared to the massive drills of the Cold War era, drills that were meant to help NATO forces beat back a hypothetical invasion from the Soviet Union.

Defender-Europe 20 is the largest military deployment to Europe in 25 years, military officials say. It is scheduled to run from April to July with operations occurring throughout parts of Germany, along with countries like Poland and the Baltic States that once were part of the Warsaw Pact. About 17,000 troops from 18 other NATO countries will take part in the U.S.-led division-level exercise.

NATO officials insist that no individual nation in the target of the massive exercise, but private analysts say the Kremlin will be taking copious notes as the forces deploy.

“Readiness is not only about having the right forces and capabilities in place throughout the theater. It’s about exercising our ability to quickly receive forces with our own and those of our allies and partners,” Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of U.S. Army Europe, said in a statement. “This ability is critical in projecting force at a moment’s notice. Our readiness reassures our allies and deters potential adversaries.”

With its history, its location on Russia’s doorstep, and its strong support of U.S. military operations in the region since becoming a NATO member, Poland is expected to play a major role in Defender-Europe 20.

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