Testing the Mobilization against the East (I)

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - In the spring of 2020, the NATO power block will hold a war game to test its mobilization against the East, according to a letter from the German Ministry of Defense. With the "Defender 2020" military exercise, the USA and its European allies will be testing the military infrastructure, command structures and supply routes it has been building up over the past few years in Eastern Europe. As in the case of a hot war with Russia, US troops will be rotated across the Atlantic to Europe and advance toward the Russian border. The German government is actively contributing to this exercise, which will further militarize Europe and fuel tensions by positioning Germany as the hub for warfare logistics. Assuming a strategic role as the hub for logistics and command, it is seeking to increase its global power. "Defender 2020" is the largest military maneuver for US forces in Europe in the past 25 years.

"Defender 2020"

Beginning early in 2020, up to 20,000 US soldiers, tanks and other hardware will be rotated across the Atlantic, through Germany to Poland and the Baltic countries. Besides the USA, 16 other NATO members, including Germany, will participate in the maneuver. According to a Bundeswehr concept, Germany would serve as a "base of operations, a staging area, and a support hub" in a NATO power block war against Russia.[1] "Defender 2020" offers Berlin the opportunity to emphasize this ambition.

With German Participation

For US forces, the exercise will already begin in January. Germany's full involvement probably will start only in April. Perturbation can be expected in civilian railway traffic. The Bundeswehr will support US troop movements through Germany for two months. They will use three so-called Convoy Support centers in Garlstedt (Lower Saxony), Burg (Saxony-Anhalt) and the Oberlausitz (Saxony) military training area. In addition, the Bergen in the Lüneburger Heide military training area will be converted into a gigantic gas station just for this exercise. The new military headquarters for the organization of rapid troop deployments (Joint Support and Enabling Command, JSEC), currently under construction in Ulm, will exercise its role as the central hub for the mobilization against Russia.[2] Presumably the European Command of the US Armed Forces (EUCOM) in Stuttgart-Vaihingen will also be involved. Command post exercises will take place in Grafenwöhr (Bavaria) as part of the maneuvers. The description of the tasks the Bundeswehr must assume during the "Defender 2020" maneuvers reveal that German participation is by no means limited to logistical support and coordination. The tasks will also focus on "combat, combat support and command - in Germany, Poland and Lithuania."[3]

Consolidate Supply Routes

"Defender 2020" is the largest maneuver since quite a while, but not the first, in which the Bundeswehr has supported the US military to deploy its troops at Russia's border. In fact, this kind of troop rotation has long since become routine. In the context of their Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR), the US armed forces has continuously carried out all sorts of exercises in the Eastern and Southeastern European countries, from the Baltics to the Black Sea. The US troops involved rotate every nine months. Within the NATO military block, the regular, uninterrupted rotation of OAR units is depicted as a measure to avoid a permanently stationed military presence of western troops at Russia's border, thereby, according to NATO sources, avoiding violation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act. In reality, with OAR and also otherwise, numerous NATO countries, including the United States and Germany, NATO has long since built up a continuous presence of combat-ready troops in Poland, the Baltic countries and in regions of Southeast Europe in the context of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP).[4] Each rotation provides the USA and its European allies with the opportunity for further consolidation of the supply routes from North America and Europe in the direction of Russia. Some, but not all, of these supply routes pass through Germany. The next rotation of US troops through Germany will take place this month. german-foreign-policy.com will soon report.

Deployment against Russia

"Defender 2020" and OAR show that in spite of its greater focus on the power struggle with China, the USA has not diminished its situating itself against Russia. In 2014, the Obama Administration had launched the so-called European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). In addition to NATO's enhanced presence, the United States is thereby also reinforcing its own positions in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. In the context of the - in the meantime renamed - European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), the OAR maneuvers are not the only troop rotations taking place - with German assistance - from Estonia to Bulgaria. Also millions are being spent on military counseling, training and weaponry for the Ukrainian armed forces.[5] In addition, the US Army is using these means to expand its own military infrastructure in Europe, for example, in Poland. In Iceland, additional measures are being taken to control the strategically important "GIUK Gap." This refers to the "gap" between Greenland, Iceland, United Kingdom (GIUK), which Russia's Northern Fleet, based in Murmansk, could use for access to the Atlantic from the Northeast.[6] Besides the infrastructure, depots of military equipment and munitions will be spread throughout Europe ("Army prepositioned stocks"), for the US Army to fall back on in the case of crisis. Many of these depots will be on German soil. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[7])


The USA is spending large sums to influence the military balance of power in Europe. The EDI was launched in 2015, with a budget of US $985 million. Already two years later, 2017, its budget was increased to US $3.4 billion, which remained constant until 2019, when Washington accorded US $6.5 billion. The amount will slightly fall, in 2020, for the first time - to US $5.9 billion.[8] EDI has laid the foundation for the United States to rebuild its comprehensive military presence in Europe, which it had reduced at the end of the cold war. Without the practical complicity of Germany as the "hub," this would not have been possible, at least to this extent.


[1] Konzeption der Bundeswehr

[2] See also Der Zwei-Prozent-Konflikt.

[3] Claudia Haydt: Europäisches Mega-Militärmanöver mit starker deutscher Beteiligung. imi-online.de 02.10.2019.

[4] See also In the Deployment Zone and Jubiläum mit Truppenbesuch.

[5] Jen Judson: Funding to deter Russia reaches $6.5B in FY19defense budget request. defensenews.com 12.02.2018.

[6] Aaron Mehta: European defense fund takes a 10 percent cut in new budget. militarytimes.com 12.03.2019.

[7] See also Vom Frontstaat zur Transitzone.

[8] Jen Judson: Funding to deter Russia reaches $6.5B in FY19defense budget request. defensenews.com 12.02.2018. Aaron Mehta: European defense fund takes a 10 percent cut in new budget. militarytimes.com 12.03.2019.