Multinational Exercise Defender 23 Begins in Europe

April 22nd, 2023 - by C. Todd Lopez / DOD News

Multinational Exercise Defender 23
Kicks Off This Month in Europe

Todd Lopez / DOD News

(April 5, 2023) — This annual, nearly two-month long exercise is focused on the strategic deployment of US-based forces, employment of Army pre-positioned stocks and interoperability with European allies and partners,” said Sabrina Singh, during a briefing today at the Pentagon.

The Defender 23 exercise is led by US Army Europe and Africa and has been planned since 2021. The exercise is designed to demonstrate the US military’s ability to rapidly deploy combat-credible troops and equipment to assure allies, deter those who would threaten the peace of Europe and defend the continent from aggression. The exercise also demonstrates the commitment of European nations to increase the scale, capability and interoperability of their own militaries.

“Approximately 9,000 US troops and about 17,000 troops from 26 allied and partner nations will participate and portions of the exercise will stretch across 10 different European countries,” Singh said.

Singh said equipment to support the exercise began arriving this week in Spain. About 7,000 pieces of equipment were shipped to the European theater from the US, she said. Additionally, about 13,000 pieces of equipment, drawn from pre-positioned stock, will be used during Defender 23.

Major Exercises Display NATO Allies’ Readiness


(March 15 2023) — Troops from NATO Allies and partners are taking part in a series of long-planned major military exercises stretching from the High North to the Mediterranean to enhance the readiness of NATO forces.

In March, 20,000 NATO troops, plus Finland and Sweden, train to defend Norway in exercises “Joint Viking” and “Joint Warrior”, the largest drills in Europe’s Arctic this year.

In the Mediterranean, ships, submarines and aircraft from nine NATO Allies conducted anti-submarine warfare drills during exercise “Dynamic Manta”.

France is holding its largest military drill in decades as part of “Orion 23”, involving 19,000 Allied troops over three months. Around 600 German troops are practicing defending Lithuania during “Griffin Lightning.” Flying out of Spain, US B-52 bombers hold joint drills with Allied air forces across Europe.

NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said, “these are long-planned defensive exercises. In a more contested and dangerous security environment, they send a clear message: NATO stands strong and ready to defend every inch of Allied territory.”

In February, aircraft carriers from the United States, Italy and Spain trained together in the Mediterranean during the “Neptune series” of naval drills. U.S and French troops from NATO’s battlegroup in Romania tested the Alliance’s eastern flank defences, including with HIMARS firings, during “Eagle Royal 23”.

Operating from the US’s northernmost base, the US deployed F-35 fighter jets to Thule air base in Greenland for the first time ever in January as part of “Noble Defender”.

In Estonia, “Winter Camp” saw the participation of 30 British Challenger 2 tanks and Leopard 2 tanks from Denmark train in winter conditions.”