Defender 2020: manover as an infrastructure stress test

Defender 2020: manover as infrastructure stress test

Entrance to NATO’s Bergen military base on the Luneburg Heath. Photo: Fiorellino. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

The U.S. Is sending more soldiers to Europe next year than it has in a quarter century

Next year, 19 NATO member countries will host the military exercise "Defender 2020", abbreviated: DEF 20. The management of this maneuver will be taken over by the USA, which will deploy a total of 37 soldiers.000 soldiers to be seconded. Of these, 17 are.000 already stationed in Europe. The rest, along with additional tanks and other equipment, will be flown in from North America and shipped in, U.S. Forces in Europe announced yesterday. With 20.000 men, more than have been brought across the Atlantic for a single military operation in a quarter of a century.

Germany is to serve as a hub for this manover in April and May "hub" act as a hub: In this state, which in January took over leadership of the 2014-launched "Very High Readiness Joint Task Force" (VJTF), soldiers and materiel will arrive from the U.S. To be redeployed to Poland and the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Auber of a federal support "in the areas of combat, combat support and leadership" is therefore also the establishment of three "Convoy support centers" and a crude refueling facility planned. The latter is to be built at the Bergen military training area in Luneburg Heath.

Trenches, bridges, rails and the two-percent target

According to the German Federal Ministry of Defense, DEF 20 is intended to "is intended to provide a rapid deployment capability for large forces across the Atlantic and through Europe to ensure that procedures will work in the event of a crisis". This would enable the Federal Republic of Germany to demonstrate how it contributes to the "to common European and Euro-Atlantic security" . In addition, the transport of the main battle tanks, some of which weigh more than 130 tons, on military low-loaders will also test the resilience of the German infrastructure.

For the other users of German streets and bridges this could mean two things: On the one hand, damage and obstructions to such structures – but on the other hand, perhaps also a faster approach to long-falling repairs, renewals and extensions. If a German government tapped into the defense budget for this purpose, it could in this way quickly approach NATO’s two-percent target, which the U.S. Leadership is insisting be met (cf. Trump turns NATO summit into farmers’ day).

In addition to air and road transport, material and soldiers are also to be transported by inland waterways and rail. The latter could lead to additional delays in already very disrupted rail operations (cf. Deutsche Bahn: core competence unreliability).

Russia as an addressee

The practice of rapid troop relocation "reassures" according to USAREUR commander Christopher G. Cavoli "our allies" and "Scares off potential opponents". Translated into plain language, the manover for the Neue Zurcher Zeitung (NZZ) is therefore "a tranquilizer pill for the Eastern Europeans" and "a demonstration of power to Russia".

Also, last year’s NATO coarse manover Trident Juncture 2018, held in Norway and Arctic waters, with some 50.000 participants from 29 countries, 150 aircraft and 60 ships, was the largest for the time being since the end of the Cold War, and was directed at Moscow – as were the annual BALTOPS exercises in the Baltic Sea (cf. Namejs, Trident Juncture and Vostok and deployment in the Arctic).

As a further demonstration of power to this address, the American military think-tank RAND Corporation proposes in a recently published report the deployment of air defense systems and missile systems in the Black Sea countries of Bulgaria and Romania. This is necessary because Russia is militarizing Crimea "militarized", modernized its Black Sea fleet and strengthened its forces in the Caucasus region.

For Turkey, by far the largest Black Sea littoral among NATO countries, the report does not suggest such a stationing. However, Turkey has just bought its own air defense system: the Russian S-400 (cf. S-400: Erdogan defies the U.S. And NATO). Moreover, it is unclear how Syria-related tensions between it and the U.S. Will develop.

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