The U.S. Europen Command (EUCOM) has announced that the Exercise Defender-Europe 20 will be scaled back by reducing the number of U.S. participants in light of the current Coronavirus outbreak.
“After careful review of the ongoing Defender-Europe 20 exercise activities and in light of the current Coronavirus outbreak, we will modify the exercise by reducing the number of U.S. participants”, said a EUCOM statement.
“Activities associated with the exercise will be adjusted accordingly and we’ll work closely with Allies and partners to meet our highest priority training objectives.”
“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 maximizing 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.”
Exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 is a U.S.-led multinational exercise, including NATO’s participation which would have seen the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe.
It was to be the largest deployment of U.S.-based forces to Europe in more than 25 years. Approximately 20,000 Soldiers from all across the U.S. including Soldiers from Army Reserves, Active Duty, and National Guard units in 15 states were expected to participate in the exercise across ten European countries.
“The deployment is designed to demonstrate the Army’s ability to rapidly deploy a large force, moving them to various areas of operation, and sustain them, before redeploying them back to the United States.”
Nearly 200 Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood in Texas, recently arrived in Bavaria, Germany for the exercise.