One of the largest US Army-led, multinational, joint military exercises has kicked off and will run from May 1 to May 27 along NATO’s eastern flank.
The regular exercises, backed by aircraft, tanks, artillery and armored assault vehicles, will take place on the alliance’s eastern flank amid Russia’s war against Ukraine raging nearby.
The exercises will take place in Finland, Poland, North Macedonia and along the Estonian-Latvian border. They will include troops from NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force, which includes non-NATO members Finland and Sweden.
“A total of 18,000 troops from over 20 countries will take part in the drills… including about 7,000 on the territory of Poland,” the Polish Defense Ministry said last week.
The Polish Army said in a statement that 18,000 soldiers from over 20 countries were taking part in the Defender Europe 2022 and Swift Response 2022 exercises that are taking place in Poland and eight other countries.
Poland, as one of the DE22 host countries, will be represented by soldiers of the 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade, 17th Mechanized Brigade, 12th Mechanized Brigade, 2nd Mechanized Brigade, 25th Air Cavalry Brigade, 6th Airborne Brigade, 2nd Engineering Regiment, 5th Mechanized Brigade, 2nd Chemical Regiment, the 9th Armored Cavalry Brigade and the Territorial Defense Forces. Polish Air Force will support the exercise with the F-16 planes from the 2nd Tactical Aviation Wing, the Su-22 from the 1st Tactical Aviation Wing and the Mi-24 helicopters from the 1st Army Aviation Brigade.
DE22 training in Poland will be conducted inter alia at training areas in Drawsko Pomorskie, Bemowo Piskie and Żagań. Apart from Polish troops, forces from the USA, France, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Great Britain will also participate with the 5th Corps of the US Armed Forces responsible for command and control.
During the exercise, the troops ability to cooperate in a joint combat operation will be put to test using various training episodes including long-distance tactical marches, bridging rivers and live fire training.
In the Swift Response exercise, the 6th Airborne Brigade will constitute core of forces conducting an airborne operation. Some 550 Polish soldiers will be deployed to Lithuania and Latvia along with troops from the Czech Republic and the German-Dutch force.
DE22 and SR 22 belong to a series of regular, defensive trainings. They are not aimed against any country and are not related to the current geopolitical situation in the region. The national and international planning process for both exercises began in early 2021.
The deployment of large numbers of forces and equipment in these exercises requires a multi-faceted commitment on the part of the host nations.
Joint combined exercises such as these enhance the security of the NATO Eastern Flank through a training in accordance with NATO standards and procedures. They also allow for the adaptation of these rules and standards to meet new and emerging challenges at the contemporary battlefield in order to deter a potential aggressor.
DEFENDER-Europe 22 demonstrates the United States’ unshakable commitment to NATO and is a prime example of our collective capabilities. It shows that NATO’s allies and partners are stronger together.