All resources are needed for humanity, not for war games. Remember to support our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world in the wake of the corona virus outbreak. To sign, follow this link. Don’t forget to share the call.
EUCOM’s statement on Defender Europe 20 from March, 16.
Today March, 16 EUCOM (The United States European Command) announced that Defender Europe 20 is, due to the outbreak of the corona virus and recent guidelines by the Secretary of Defense, modified in size and scope.
Military exercises linked to Defender Europe 20 are discontinued and this includes Dynamic Front, Joint Warfighting Assessment, Saber Strike (the Baltic States) and Swift Response, which involved paratroops dropping into the Republic of Georgia and the Baltics.
EUCOM however also indicates that some exercises still are on. As part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise, they expect that an armor brigade combat team already deployed to Europe will conduct gunnery and other combined training together with Allies.
News on Defender Europe 20 from Pentagon’s Stars and Stripes.
From Friday March, 13 all movement of personnel and equipment from the United States to Europe ceased. EUCOM states that ”the health, safety and readiness of our military, civilians, and family members is our primary concern” and that ”forces already deployed to Europe for other linked exercises will return to the United States”.
The purpose of Defender Europe 2020 is expressed as ”to build strategic readiness by deploying a combat credible force to Europe in support of NATO and the U.S. National Defense Strategy”. All movement of soldiers and material from the United States to Europe and within Europe already conducted is in this context proclaimed to have ”exercised the Army’s ability to coordinate large scale movements with Allies and partners”. EUCOM state that changes are anticipated to the deployment timelines of soldiers already in Europe and redeployment of equipment today stationed in the United States. Schedules for future troops rotations in support of Atlantic Resolve are also likely to be adjusted at the same time as they are now ”maximizing their efforts to advance their alliances and partnerships”.
Our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after corona outbreak
We welcome the decision to reduce Defender Europe 20 since it includes discontinuation of related exercises. However, we see an urgent need for much more to be done.
Already deployed American soldiers are said to be on their way back to the United States at the same time as other American soldiers stationed in Europe as part of, for instance, Atlantic Resolve is not mentioned more than that their rotation is likely to be adjusted. Atlantic Resolve is explicit to have a purpose to “deter Russian aggression in Europe” and it’s obvious that the United States is planning to further militarize Europe.
This is not what is needed in these difficult times. As countries around the world appeal to their citizens to return to their home countries, the American soldiers which are deployed based on an imaginary threat as opposed to the corona virus is allowed to, together with certain other deployed soldiers, stay in Europe and they are also planned to increase in the future. Some of the deployed soldiers are even expected to conduct military training in the midst of the corona virus outbreak. This is incorrect use of resources.
In parallel, preparations for Aurora 20 is continuing according to plan. Aurora 20 – the largest military exercise in years which also means a debut for the American Patriot system in Sweden – is due to take place in Sweden May, 11 to June, 7. This military exercise is scheduled to start in less the two months and preparations already include transport of equipment and soldiers to Sweden. NATO has, for example, a large military base in Norway and even if Norway recently closed its border, the border is still open to both Sweden and Finland at the same time as Sweden’s borders are fully open.
In a time when people’s mobility is reduced, the military’s mobility should not be an exception. At the same time, all military resources should be put to work for humanity by combating the corona virus, not some imaginary enemy. The best way to achieve this is to discontinue all military exercises – both ongoing and planned ones – and allocate all resources for humanity.
That’s way we say:
- Stop Defender 20, Aurora 20 and other large scale military exercises in Europe and elsewhere
- End rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment
If you agree, don’t forget to sign and share our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after corona outbreak. You find the call by following this link.
- Activists for peace: “Cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after corona outbreak“. March, 14 2020. Call published on change.org.
- EUCOM: “Exercise Defender-Europe 20 Update (March 16)“. March, 16 2020. EUCOM.
- Hedlund, Calle: “Inrikesministern: Inte aktuellt att stänga svenska gränsen“. (In Swedish: Title in English: “Interior Minister: Not necessary to close the Swedish border“. March, 14 2020, SVT Nyheter.
- NATO: Nato’s official information about Defender Europe 2020.
- Sjödin, Simon: “Norge stänger gränserna mot Sverige – här är undantagen som släpps över“. (In Swedish. Title in English: “Norway closes borders with Sweden – here are the exceptions that are allowed to pass”. March, 15 2020. Östersundsposten
- Swedish Armed forces: Official information about Aurora20 from Swedish Armed forces
- Swedish Armed Forces: “Patriot debuterar under Aurora 20“. (In Swedish. Title in English Patriot debutes during Aurora 20P) February, 12 2020, Swedish Defence Forces.
- US Army Europe: “Atlantic Resolve Fact Sheet“. June, 6 2018, US Army Europe.
- US Army Europe: “Exercise Defender-Europe 20 UPDATE“. March, 16 2020. US Army Europe.
- Vandiver, John: 700 Marines arrive in Norway for six-month mission. September 27, 2019, Stars and Stripes.
- Vandiver, John: “Coronavirus fears force Pentagon to curtail large Defender-Europe 20 exercise“. March, 6 2020, Stars and Stripes.