US to Lead Major Military Exercise in Europe in April

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Military personnel from the United States and 26 other countries will take part in the maneuvers. Nearly 9,000 American troops are expected to participate in the Defender 23 Exercise which kicks off on April 22, the deputy Pentagon press secretary said today. “This annual, nearly two-month long exercise is focused on the strategic deployment of U.S.-based forces, employment of Army pre-positioned stocks and interoperability with European allies and partners,” said Sabrina Singh, during a briefing today at the Pentagon. The Defender 23 exercise is led by U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command and has been planned since 2021. The exercise is designed to demonstrate the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy combat-credible troops and equipment to assure allies, deter those who would threaten the peace of Europe and defend the continent from aggression, the Pentagon said. The exercise also demonstrates the commitment of European nations to increase the scale, capability and interoperability of their own militaries. “Approximately 9,000 U.S. troops and about 17,000 troops from 26 allied and partner nations will participate and portions of the exercise will stretch across 10 different European countries,” Singh said. Singh said equipment to support the exercise began arriving this week in Spain. About 7,000 pieces of equipment were shipped to the European theater from the U.S., she said. Additionally, about 13,000 pieces of equipment, drawn from pre-positioned stock, will be used during Defender 23. In addition to the United States, troops from Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK will all take part in Defender 23.