Did the Americans make a mistake with the name of the exercise?

This year, the United States holds the largest military exercise in recent decades. The exercise named “Defender Europe 2020” is conducted from January 15 to August 15, 2020.

The “Defender Europe 2020” exercise will bring together 18 NATO member countries and Georgia. In total – about 37,000 people, several thousand units of armored vehicles, hundreds of aircraft and helicopters. The main contingent is represented by the US Armed Forces – about 29,000 soldiers (20 thousand from the continental United States and 9 thousand from the European contingent). Maneuvers will take place in 10 countries. The Baltic states, Poland, Georgia will provide their landfills. An important role in the exercises is played by Germany. It acts as the main logistics hub through which the main transfer of US troops will be conducted.

The goal of the “Defender Europe 2020” exercise is to test and demonstrate the ability to transfer units of the divisional level from the continental United States to Europe and organize interaction with allies.

At the same time along with the “Defender Europe 2020” exercise, major national combat training events will be held, such as “Anaconda 2020” (the largest Polish Armed Forces exercise), “Baltic Host 2020” (the Baltic Armed Forces exercise to develop NATO reinforcement troop reception issues), “Spring storm” (one of the most significant combat training exercises of the Estonian Armed Forces), “Combined Resolve XIII” (NATO Allied Forces) and a number of other smaller NATO and national exercises.

Usually the essence of the doctrine is reflected in the name of the doctrine. For example, NATO exercises such as “Combined Resolve” or “Joint Warrior”. From the names it is clear that these are measures to develop joint combat training of NATO countries. The name “Baltic Host” alludes to its content – the reception by the Baltic states of NATO forces. Other examples can be cited: “Capable Logistician”, “Spring Storm”, etc.

And what does the name “Defender Europe” tell us? Obviously, it is supposed to demonstrate the power of the American army to protect allies from a potential enemy in Europe, which is not part of NATO. However, according to the scenario of the exercise, the military strength of the alleged aggressor is comparable to NATO. In this case, the Americans simply will not be able to defeat anyone, since either a nuclear war begins, or they are not allowed to successfully cross the ocean and land in Europe. After all, all strategic ports and transport hubs in the event of a real war are among the first to fall under missile attacks.

So the Americans are unlikely to succeed to protect Europe. But they surely be able to demonstrate their weapons to the world. And on a large scale. During the exercise it is planned to conduct a variety of firing from all types of weapons.

Returning to the topic of the article, it seems to me that these military drills would be much better called something like “Skillful warrior” or “Big transfer”. This would not cause ambiguity in the interpretations and would not give rise to unnecessary claims. Although overseas military marketers certainly know better.

Vitaliy Timoschuk, political journalist


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