Estonia's deputy defense chief: Defender Europe 20 brings together allied, partner states

  • 2020-03-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Deputy commander of the Estonian defense forces Maj. Gen. Indrek Sirel at the end of last week met with commanders of the armies of NATO states at the headquarters of United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany, where the commanders discussed the organization of the US-led Defender Europe 20 military exercise.

"Defender tests the capability of European countries and infrastructure to receive allied forces, while Defender also combines the exercises of allied and partner states, enabling harmonization of training procedures and learning from each other," Sirel said.

Of the exercises organized from Estonia, Defender's framework includes the Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) and the US-led Sabre Strike. The Polish exercise, Anakonda, will bring a coastal defense missile unit to Estonia, while the Amari air field will be used by US A-10 attack aircraft and tankers taking part in the Sabre Strike exercise. Estonia will also take part in Defender's computer-based map exercise both as part of the main command point as well as the NATO Multinational Division North.

At the meeting, the commanders of the armies of NATO and partner countries discussed the role of armies and issues pertaining to strategic readiness, as well as the organization of the reception, movement and stationing of allied forces during Defender, the organization of interoperability and joint exercises, and investment in the infrastructure of armies. 

The chiefs of armies also discussed measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the armed forces to prevent the spread of the virus during exercises.

Defender Europe 20 is the largest US-led deployment exercise in the last decades. In the framework of the exercise, the US is to send over 20,000 troops and 20,000 units of equipment to allied states in Europe. Defender Europe 20 encompasses several exercises of European countries, which enables the practice of cooperation between the units of various countries and the reception of allied forces at the exercises.

The meeting of the commanders of the armies in Wiesbaden was attended by the army leaders of NATO, the European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Georgia, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, Romania and the US.