After being scaled back last year due to COVID-19, Defender Europe exercise returns

27 nations are participating
U.S. Soldiers in Estonia for DEFENDER-Europe 21 receive quality life support
Posted at 10:04 AM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 10:04:21-04

EUROPE — A massive exercise involving the United States and dozens of NATO allies and partners is back underway.

Defender Europe had to be scaled back last year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the exercise involves more than 30,000 forces from 27 countries, including the United States.

"It's defensive in nature, focused on deterring aggression, while preparing our forces to respond to crisis and conduct large-scale combat operations if necessary," explained Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby during a briefing.

More activities are happening over a wider-area than was planned for 2020.

While the exercise is led by the Army, both the Air Force and Navy are playing an active role this year.

Defender Europe is scheduled to run through June.