US to modify Exercise Defender-Europe 20 amid Covid-19 outbreak

12 March 2020 (Last Updated March 29th, 2020 13:54)

The US Army-led joint, multinational training Exercise Defender-Europe 20 will be modified in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

US to modify Exercise Defender-Europe 20 amid Covid-19 outbreak
Image: US Army / Sgt Benjamin Northcutt, 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

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The US Army-led joint, multinational training Exercise Defender-Europe 20 will be modified in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The exercise will see a reduction in the number of US participants with associated activities modified accordingly.

Approximately 20,000 soldiers from across the US Army Reserves, active duty, and national guard units in 15 states are participating in the exercise.

Defender-Europe 20 is the largest deployment of soldiers from the US to Europe in more than 25 years.

The exercise was aimed to demonstrate the US Army’s capability to deploy, move and sustain different operation areas, as well as redeploying back to the US.

In an update, the US European Command (EUCOM) said: “The health protection of our force, and that of our allies and partners, is a top concern.

“We take the coronavirus outbreak seriously and are confident that by making this important decision we’ll continue to do our part to prevent the further spread of the virus, while still maximising our efforts to advance our alliances and partnerships and enhancing our comprehensive readiness to address any crisis or contingency.

“As we work through the arrangements with our allies and partners, we’ll provide additional updates.”

The Defender-Europe 20 exercise saw the arrival of first combat power equipment at the port of Bremerhaven in Germany on 20 February.

The exercise will also involve over 20,000 pieces of equipment in linked exercises across the theatre.

Defender-Europe 20 exercise has been planned and executed by 21st Theater Sustainment Command and the 598th Transportation Brigade, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.