Allied Forces Gather for NATO's Biggest Exercise in Decades

US Marines and Norwegian forces train in Norway in February 2024, part of the lead-up to exercise Nordic Response. (Photo: NATO)

NATO Allies have deployed to take part in exercise Steadfast Defender involving 90,000 personnel from 31 Allies and partner nation Sweden.

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NATO forces are on the move for Steadfast Defender 2024, the Alliance's largest exercise in decades, as North American troops are crossing the Atlantic, moving across Europe and exercising with European forces.

The purpose of Steadfast Defender 2024 is to put NATO's new regional defense plans to the test. With forces practicing rapid deployment and combat in both Norway and Poland, the Allies are proving their ability to command and control large ground, air, and sea forces across significant distances.

Taking place alongside is exercise Joint Warrior, a training event in which the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), NATO, and partner nations' formations, units, and their staffs can participate and undertake collective training.

Meanwhile, NATO's rapid response forces, led this year by the United Kingdom, deployed to Poland as part of exercise Brilliant Jump 24, which falls under Steadfast Defender. There, they will prepare themselves to repel a simulated adversary in a collective defense scenario.

Steadfast Defender 2024 involves 90,000 forces from 31 Allies and NATO partner Sweden and is conducted across various NATO nations.

The first part of the exercise focuses on securing the Atlantic up to the Arctic; the second part focuses on moving troops across Europe, from the High North to Central and Eastern Europe.

"Steadfast Defender 2024 will be a clear demonstration of our unity, strength, and determination to protect each other, our values, and the rules-based international order", says General Christopher G. Cavoli, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, according to a NATO press release.

The exercise lasts from January to May 2024.

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