MONS, Belgium - U.S. led, multinational, Exercise Defender Europe 20 draws nearer as British Army military vehicles arrive at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.
Although the majority of troops participating in the exercise are U.S. forces, Defender Europe 20 allows NATO Allies and Partner nations, Georgia and Finland, to train, build readiness and deter potential threats throughout the continent. The exercise, which will involve more than 37,000 participants, will see the largest component of U.S. based forces deployed to Europe in the last 25 years.
The overarching goal of the event is to demonstrate the ability of the U.S. to lift and shift a division-size force
British Army HET or Heavy Equipment Transporters, wait to be driven off a ship in Belgium as part of the US-led multinational exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20.- Photo by NATO HQ
“The planning in itself is deterrence because it teaches our [troops] what’s involved when you start to embrace an activity of this magnitude and what you have to be prepared to do to successfully pull it off. The overarching goal of the event is to demonstrate the ability of the U.S. to lift and shift a division-size force over long distances,” said Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod D. Wolters.
In total more than 20,000 pieces of equipment will be moved to continental Europe. The arrival of British Forces and equipment in Antwerp, just one of the dropping points in the build up to the exercise, will allow for convoys to travel across the continent to preposition equipment and other resources. The convoys will travel a total of approximately 4,000 kilometers to stage for the exercise proper.
The focus of the purely defensive exercise is to practice the rapid deployment of large-scale forces across the Atlantic into Europe where they are then supported by participating Allied and Partner nations. During the initial phases of the exercise, nations will stage equipment in 14 air and seaports across 8 European countries in preparation for the exercise proper to begin.