Polskie Radio

Defender Europe 2020 in wake of Russian aggression. Moscow 'likely re-deployed nuclear weapons back to Kaliningrad'

Ostatnia aktualizacja: 07.02.2020 18:00
'Defender Europe 2020 will be the largest deployment of US troops to Europe, since the Cold War', Col.Ray Wojcik, former US Military Attaché  to Warsaw, currently director of the CEPA Think Tank office in Poland, told PolskieRadio24.pl. The exercises come after a series of threats and alarming signals from Kremlin, he added.
Zdjęcie ilustracyjne
Zdjęcie ilustracyjne Foto: DVIDS / U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Calab Franklin
  • It is the first in a new series of large-scale exercises in the region including, for the first time, such a large-scale deployment of American forces to Europe, from the United States, Ray Wojcik noted
  • Russia has created the conditions which led to insecurity in the region; Kremlin has put its society into a state of constant warfare with the West under the Gerasimov 'doctrine'
  • Kremlin has re-militarized the Baltic and Black Sea littorals to an unprecedented degree; Moscow has likely re-deployed nuclear weapons back to Kaliningrad (and possibly onto the Crimean Peninsula)

US soldiers are already getting ready to come to Central and Eastern Europe where they are going to take part in Defender-Europe 20 exercise. It is the biggest deployment of US troops to the region since the Cold War.

A total of 37,000 soldiers from 18 countries will participate in the exercises taking place in seven countries, and 20,000 soldiers will be deployed from the United States. There will be 33,000 military equipment units in use. As Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher said in Warsaw, these exercise are in line with NATO's Article 5 guarantee "one for all, all for one".

A briefing on Polish-American before the Defender Europe 20 exercise took place in Warsaw on January 30.

Find out more in interview with Col. Ray Wojcik, former US military attaché to Warsaw, currently director of CEPA think tank office in Poland

Fort Hood, Teksas: ładowanie sprzętu na ćwiczenia Defender-Europe 2020, Coleman Barracks w Mannheim w Niemczech
  Fort Hood, Teksas: ładowanie sprzętu na ćwiczenia Defender-Europe 2020, Coleman Barracks w Mannheim w Niemczech. Fot. DVIDS / U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Calab Franklin

PolskieRadio24.pl: What will the exercise DEFENDER-Europe 2020 involve? What is the aim of the exercises?

Col.Ray Wojcik, former US Military Attaché  to Warsaw, currently director of the CEPA office in Warsaw: EXERCISE DEFENDER 20 (D20), is the largest deployment of US forces to Europe, since the Cold War.  An American Army Division deploys from the United States and operates shoulder-to-shoulder with NATO allies and partners. Thousands of big (and small) tactical and operational methods and procedures can be tested during D20. Chief of among these is deploying forces rapidly from the United States, then these forces gather equipment already pre-positioned in various locations in Europe, known as: “Army Prepositioned Stocks” (APS).

As well, American forces from the U.S., and based in Europe, deploy throughout the Central and East Europe (CEE) region, participating in multiple linked-exercises. The aim is to demonstrate allied resolve in the face of Russian aggression; test deployability tasks, military mobility; while building combat readiness and interoperability among allies and partners.

What is the context of the decision about these exercises?

Russia’s provocative aggression against sovereign states in the region led the United States and its allies, in coordination with the EU, to take a series of steps to reassure allies and partners and build partner capabilities to deter Russian aggression. DEFENDER-20 (D20), is the next step in the military sphere, to demonstrate allied resolve and capabilities. It is the first in a new series of large-scale exercises in the region including, for the first time, such a large-scale deployment of American forces to Europe, from the United States.  Russia has created the conditions which led to insecurity in the region. Besides previously (and continuing) sowing and stoking aggression in Estonia, Moldova and Georgia, in 2014, Russia illegally annexed Crimea and continues supporting conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region which has killed 15,000 Ukrainian citizens so far. 

Russia has revised its official military doctrine to explicitly treat NATO as its main threat; Has put its society into a state of constant warfare with the West under the Gerasimov “doctrine;” Has re-militarized the Baltic and Black Sea littorals to an unprecedented degree; and Has very likely re-deployed nuclear weapons back to Kaliningrad (and possibly onto the Crimean Peninsula). Moreover, Russia has broken its covenants and promises by: Illegally “suspending” its participation in the CFE Treaty; breaking the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; Using a chemical weapon for a targeted assassination inside of NATO territory (Salisbury); Is responsible for the shooting down a commercial airliner
(MH17); conducted an unprovoked attack on Ukrainian Naval vessels, seizing them and illegally imprisoning 24 Ukrainian sailors for almost a year; rejecting, inter alia, the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the CFE Treaty, the Vienna Document of 1994, and the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation as the basis for a 21st century security architecture of Europe; and finally, conducting regular and large-scale exercises along NATO’s Eastern Border, attempting to threaten and intimidate U.S. Allies by rehearsing similar wars against their territory.

What is worth paying attention to in the context of these exercises, how do they stand out?

D20 is a bold decision of the United States to undertake, and to inspire allied cohesion, coherence and improve capabilities. Think about these significant numbers, D20 includes:

20,000 American troops deploying from the United States, and 9,000 American troops participating from Europe; 6,000 U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers from 15 states: • Arizona • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Idaho • Maryland • Michigan • Montana • Nevada • Oregon • New York • Pennsylvania • South Carolina • Tennessee • Virginia; 900 U.S. Army Reserve troops participating from the U.S.; 20,000 pieces of equipment shipped from the U.S.; 13,000 pieces of equipment drawn from 4 APS sites in Europe and 4,000 kilometers of convoy routes, allowing allied forces to test critical Military Mobility!

Other important things worth underlining about D20. D20 does not just build U.S. readiness – it is designed to integrate civil authorities and U.S. European Command notes that it is a “whole-of-Europe” exercise creating opportunities for new synergies and improved capabilities among allied/partner militaries and governments. 

D20 moreover is doing much more.  You have heard of the 3-Seas-Initiative (3SI).  D20 at its core, advances what I like to call the “other,” (perhaps less talked about) 3C’s: Capabilities, Coherence and Cohesion.

What stands behind this concept?

Capabilities: Allied and partner Capabilities will be tested to the limit during D20; this provides the opportunity to identify gaps, problems and challenges in tactics, techniques, procedures and allied/partner interoperability. Then, the alliance, and Europe, has a way ahead to mitigate shortfalls in the future, to ensure we are able to maximize readiness, deterrence and defense.

Coherence: D20 sets conditions for allies/partners to better understand the limits to NATO’s current operational posture, and forward capabilities. Thus, D20 can help inform NATO as it continues its Adaptation, to respond to challenges on its Frontline (Eastern Flank) in a Coherent way, properly distributing NATO capabilities to maximize readiness, deterrence, defense and to regain lost initiative.

Cohesion: D20 plays a decisive role not only in real practical on-the-ground military activity, but it delivers an unequivocal message of unity to Russia about NATO, and NATO partners’ resolve.  It helps to build more understanding in allied capitals for the necessity to resource such exercises, and to resource military capabilities per the NATO Charter. D20 helps to do this via a thoughtful and calibrated Strategic Communications campaign aimed at key allied audiences (not just Russia). In this way, citizens of Europe and the United States better understand the what and why we are defending Europe, and the what and why (if we must) be willing to fight for.

 

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 Agnieszka Marcela Kamińska, PolskieRadio24.pl

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