WIESBADEN, Germany – DEFENDER-Europe 21 activities begin this month across Europe and continue through June.
DEFENDER-Europe is an annual large-scale U.S. Army Europe and Africa-led, multinational, joint exercise designed to build strategic and operational readiness and interoperability between U.S., NATO allies and partners.
Building on the success of last year’s exercise, DEFENDER-Europe 21 includes a greater number of NATO ally and partner nations conducting activities over a wider area than what was planned for in 2020. More than 30,000 multinational forces from 27 nations will conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in a dozen countries.
“While we are closely monitoring the COVID situation, we’ve proven we have the capability to train safely despite the pandemic. No matter what, our nations count on our forces being ready to defend the peace,” said Gen. Christopher Cavoli, U.S. Army Europe and Africa commanding general. “DEFENDER-Europe 21 provides us the best opportunity to hone our abilities alongside our allies and partners in the strategically important Balkans and Black Sea region so that collectively, we are ready to respond to any crisis that may arise.”
This year, DEFENDER-Europe 21 will also include significant involvement of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. The exercise will utilize key ground and maritime routes bridging Europe, Asia and Africa. The exercise will incorporate new or high-end capabilities including air and missile defense assets, as well as assets from the U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Brigades and the recently reactivated V Corps.
“DEFENDER-Europe 21 is a critical exercise that will provide V Corps with another great opportunity to build readiness in our march towards full operational capability, and promote interoperability as we work alongside allies and partners,” said Lt. Gen. John Kolasheski, V Corps commanding general. “We are looking forward to this chance to work closely with U.S. Army Europe and Africa and demonstrate U.S. resolve and commitment to Europe.”
In March, equipment and personnel begin moving from the United States. In April, participating units will draw Army Prepositioned Stock from sites in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The bulk of training activities will occur in May and the exercise will conclude in June with the redeployment of U.S.-based forces and equipment.
DEFENDER-Europe 21 will encompass several linked exercises, to include:
- Swift Response (early to mid-May) – will include airborne operations in Estonia,