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The US Army is planning one of the largest maneuvers of this millennium. 20,000 American soldiers are therefor moved from their home to Europe to take part in various exercises. Yesterday briefed Brigadier General Sean Bernabe, Deputy Chief of Staff, G3, US Army Europe, about the current plans. Defender-Europe 20 is divided into three parts, first, the relocation of 20,000 troops to Europe and back, secondly, the movement of American troops in Europe and third, participating in various "smaller" exercises.

"We do not just build our strategic operational capability by we move 20,000 troops from the United States to Europe and then bring about the continent in the exercise areas, but we are improving with each small practice the tactical readiness," Bernabe described in the briefing , For the US Army, however, the first two elements on the verification of their own strategic capability for operations significantly. These are led by the US Army Europe, while the smaller exercises are partly in national or NATO responsibility. "It's a big task for all involved and therefore we have started planning months ago. The entire logistics of the US Army - almost the entire supply of the United States - is fully occupied. And frankly, even our allies here on the continent had to position themselves well to receive these forces in the four ports and then transport them rapidly across the continent. "

The individual phases of the exercise (Graphic: US Army)

Germany will serve primarily as a transit country. In addition, about 8,000 American soldiers at the command post exercise Joint Warfighting Assessment take part in space Grafenwöhr. There are also the 116th Armored Brigade Combat Team of the National Guard of Idaho participating in the live training at the NATO military training area Bergen-Hohne. "Apart from these two events, the transit of convoys is on Germany from the seaports to the training areas in Poland or the Baltic States to take place", described Bernabe. In addition, the arrival of the armed forces would at airports and other transport via buses, trains and military convoys.

"We are currently finalizing the details of the transit plan from the seaports to the practice areas. Basically, we are planning four main paths that lead from the ports to the various destinations in Germany and Poland. We coordinate this with the local authorities and will appreciate the support provided by the local authorities in support of the military vehicle convoys, very much appreciated. We plan these movements for the night, to disrupt their normal civilian traffic to minimize, "said Bernabe. "Of course there will be several railway lines that move us heavy equipment from the ports in the exercise areas. But here still the coordination takes place and we coordinate with all the transport authorities of the host countries from to ensure the smooth movement ensure all forces across the continent. "

To provide logistical support for troops Bernabe said: "It is a combination of units and forces. Certainly, the US Army Europe will make a large part of this support. Among the 20,000 soldiers who come from the United States, are also logistics units. Thus it is clear, for example, 1st Cavalry Division support brigade from Fort Hood, Texas, one, who, in turn, to fill the equipment for all deployed troops, to provide and maintain the leadership and to take control of all support units. Certainly our allies and partners will use a portion of its logistics capacities to enable the support of the forces on the ground. We will also arrange some places support contract "said Bernabe". Logistics is thus an absolutely multinational endeavor that of 21st Theater Sustainment Command, which is in the US Army Europe headquarters under the command of a US two-star general who led, coordinated and controlled. "

Up to 116th Armored Brigade Combat Team of the Idaho Army National Guard - will consist their equipment inventories from the US Army in Europe - bring all the troops their device from the US to Europe. "The other brigades - as die2nd 3 Brigaderd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, will use their own equipment. It is loaded its battle tanks, their armored personnel carriers and howitzers in Savannah on a ship that then goes across the Atlantic and, Germany, is discharged in Bremerhaven. Some of the equipment is transported by military plane, but that is a very small part, "said Bernabe. Communication devices are approximately provided for military air transport. however, the soldiers came mostly with civil aircraft - whose achievements would hired on a contract basis - to Europe. The aim of the civilian machines were airfields near the seaports where the soldiers finally take their heavy equipment and transport it further across the continent.

"We will get back in February some of these forces in motion. For example, the 2nd 3 Brigaderd Infantry Division meets some time before the exercise Allied Spirit one in Poland. It is therefore to the first moving troops belong ", described Bernabe. "We are moving our forces from February to April. Then we take a short break over the Easter holidays, this is just to keep our units from the highways and country roads. Towards the middle of April, we are finally completely in Europe in the smaller exercises present. "

The majority of smaller exercises will take place from April to May 2020th The entire Defender Europe 20 is carried out from February 2020 to August 2020. Then it goes towards home again.

Dorothee Frank