Military Capabilities

Covid-19: Defender-Europe 20 scaled down, future exercise cuts on the horizon

20 March 2020

Pentagon leaders had grand ambitions for this year's Defender-Europe 20 exercise in what it billed as the largest deployment of US-based forces to Europe in the more than 25 years. However, as the Covid-19 outbreak ravishes communities across the globe, the US is expecting a 60% reduction to the exercise.

US Air Force General Tod Wolters, the commander for US European Command (USEURCOM) and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, briefed Pentagon reporters on 20 March about the effects that Covid-19 infections are creating across his area of operation (AoR). On 20 March case numbers within his AoR had exceeded 35, he said, and as a result a variety of ongoing and future exercises with partner nations and allies will be scaled down.

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