DEFENDER-Europe 2020 military exercise: coronavirus forces US Army to scale down
The US Army significantly reduces the size and scope of DEFENDER-Europe 2020 military exercise intended to test the Army’s ability to move a divisional force from US seaports to European training grounds this spring.
It was envisaged that the exercise would involve 20,000 soldiers who would be trained in 10 European countries. Several related exercises— Dynamic Front, Joint Warfighting Assessment, Saber Strike, and Swift Response— will no longer be conducted, US Officials of the European Army announced Monday.
About 6,000 soldiers had already deployed from the US to Europe since January, including a division headquarters and an armoured brigade combat team.
“We anticipate the armored brigade combat team already deployed to Europe will conduct gunnery and other combined training events with Allies as part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise,” US Army officials said in a statement. “Forces already deployed to Europe for other linked exercises will return to the United States.”
“For more than 100 years Reserve Marines have gone in harm’s way against our nation’s threats,” Lt. Gen. David Bellon, commander of Marine Forces Reserve, said in a statement released to the Marine Forces Reserve Facebook page. “We overcome obstacles and we win battles,” he said, “Our latest challenge with COVID-19 will be no different.”
The statement announced that all travel not considered “mission-essential” will be canceled along with any drills, training and community relations events that expose sailors and Marines in the reserves to public gatherings.