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Jan 23 2024

NATO's largest exercise in decades, Steadfast Defender 2024, set to get underway

MONS, Belgium – NATO Allies and partners are preparing for exercise Steadfast Defender 2024, NATO’s largest exercise in decades, set to commence throughout the entire Trans-Atlantic region this week.

Steadfast Defender, which has been in development for several years, will demonstrate NATO’s ability to deploy forces rapidly from North America and other parts of the Alliance to reinforce the defence of Europe. It will show that we can conduct and sustain complex multi-domain operations over several months, across thousands of kilometers from the High North to Central and Eastern Europe in any conditions.

“Exercise Steadfast Defender 2024 will be a clear demonstration of our unity, our strength and our determination to protect each other, to protect our values and the rules based international order,” said Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Christopher G. Cavoli.

Romanian Special Forces operators prepare to execute a simulated breach during exercise Steadfast Defender 2021. Steadfast Defender 2021 was a NATO-led exercise involving over 9,000 troops from more than 20 NATO Allies and partners. The objective was to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from any direction. - NATO Photo

Approximately 90,000 forces from 31 Allies and Sweden will participate. The exercise will launch in Norfolk, Virginia with the deployment of forces to continental Europe.

Steadfast Defender 2024 is comprised of a series of exercises that will continue throughout SACEUR’s Area of Responsibility throughout the first half of 2024.

The last equivalent large scale NATO exercises were REFORGER in 1988 with 125,000 participants and exercise Trident Juncture 2018, with 50,000 contributing military personnel.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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