Our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after corona outbreak
A call to discontinue all large scale military exercise in Europe and the world after corona outbreak has collected over a thousand signatures. Signatories come from all over the world; Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. People from every continent have come together and speak up against the present policies with large scale exercises bringing together tens of thousands of soldiers from different countries as part of a drastic increase in military expenditure.
EUCOM’s statement on Defender Europe 20 from March, 16
Defender Europe 20 is downsized, but some exercises are unfortunately still on. For instance, EUCOM has expressed that “as part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise, they expect an armored brigade combat team already deployed to Europe to conduct gunnery and other combined training together with Allies”. In parallel, we also hear statements that they already have “exercised the Army’s ability to coordinate large scale movements with Allies and partner”. They try to tell a story of success as they, since January, have been moving soldiers and equipment from the United States and equipment from prepositioned stocks in Europe to fulfil the goal of Defender Europe 20; “to build strategic readiness by deploying a combat credible force to Europe in support of NATO and the U.S. National Defense Strategy”. In practice, soldiers and equipment are moved to the east, closer to the Russian border.
Frankfurter Allgemeine on March, 19
Nato’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed the readiness of the Alliance even though the corona virus tests the resilience of the allies “to the limit”; “our forces remains ready and our work continues”. This includes the multinational combat allies stationed in the Baltic States to conduct airspace surveillance and also the naval allies and all missions from Afghanistan to Kosovo. He also expressed that exercises had to be slowed down or shortened, especially the large maneuver Defender Europe 20, but not discontinued.
It is clear that neither EUCOM nor Nato has any intention to stop or even decrease their presence in Europe. EUCOM explicitly 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 troop rotations in support of Atlantic Resolve are also likely to be adjusted at the same time as efforts are put into “maximizing efforts to advance alliances and partnerships”. Nato’s Stoltenberg also speaks about exercises slowed down or shortened, not cancelled.
USNI News on March, 7
Regarding other large scale military exercise such as Aurora 20 in Sweden and RIMPAC in the Pacific, there are no reports that any changes have been made. These military exercises are planned to be larger and more complex than ever before and also include more participants.
In this context, Nato’s Stoltenberg has acknowledged his main concern. He is worried that member states should decrease their military budgets due to the current corona crisis which has “serious economic impacts” on state budgets. Stoltenberg expects that allies will stick to the goal of “investing more in security” in order to protect themselves in an unsecure world. He says that the military threat has not changed. He prefers fictitious enemies instead of real threats to Europe and the world such as coronavirus pandemic and climate change which destroys whole ecosystems.
- 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
No more money should be given for games. The money should go to the people by investments in health, welfare, peace and the environment.
If you agree, join over a thousand from all over the world to end rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment. Don’t forget to spread the word.
Activists for peace
- EUCOM: “Exercise Defender-Europe 20 Update (March 16)“. March, 16 2020. EUCOM.
- Gutschker, Thomas: NATO-CHEF STOLTENBERG: Coronavirus testet Widerstandskraft „bis an die Grenze“ (In German. Title in English: NATO CHIEF STOLTENBERG: Coronavirus tests resilience ”to the limit”). 19 March 2020, Frankfurter Allgemeine.
- Mahadzir, Dzirhan: PACFLEET Commander: RIMPAC 2020 Will Be More Complex, Feature More Countries. 6 March 2020 and lasted updated 7 March 2020, USNI News.
- Olsson, Jonas: Corona påverkar flera stora militärövningar i Europa (In Swedish. Title in English: Corona affects several large scale military exercies in Europe). Corona 12 March 2020 and last updated 13 March 2020, SVT Nyheter Utrikes.
- US Army Europe: “Exercise Defender-Europe 20 UPDATE“. March, 16 2020. US Army Europe.
- Vandiver, John: “Coronavirus fears force Pentagon to curtail large Defender-Europe 20 exercise“. March, 6 2020, Stars and Stripes.