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NATO’s Cold Response 2020, And Another US Troop Deployments to Europe

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NATO's Cold Response 2020, And Another US Troop Deployments to Europe

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The Cold Response 2020 military exercise will take place in Norway between March 2nd and 18th, 2020.

It will involve approximately 20,000 troops from Norway, as well as other NATO allies.

“Norway is a leading nation in NATO when it comes to cold weather operations, and has extensive experience in this field. It is therefore natural that Norway is hosting winter exercises such as Cold Response.”

The main purpose of the exercise is to ensure that Norwegian Armed Forces, as well as allies have the ability to conduct multinational joint exercises with a high-intensity combat scenario in demanding winter conditions.

Another main aim is to practice large amphibious capacities. This means transition from a landing ship to shore, and attacking a target on land from ships with the assistance from amphibious assault ships and helicopters.

It is essentially exercising a landing against a foe which may have a cold weather environment, which is very obviously Russia. It also assumes that Russia would first attack Norway, then the NATO members would deflect the attack and mount their own counteroffensive.

NATO's Cold Response 2020, And Another US Troop Deployments to Europe

Click to see full-size image

In early March, approximately 7,500 US troops will be deployed to Norway to join their NATO allies in the massive mock invasion.

As it has been extensively covered and mentioned, the Arctic is a point of contention and promises to become one of the global hot points in the coming months and years. As such, NATO needs to have the ability to counter Russian, as well as Chinese activities in the region.

Thus, Cold Response 2020 takes place above the Arctic Circle.

There is also a teaser video for the exercise:

“Marines are getting ready for Cold Response 2020. More than 15,000 troops from nine nations will be participating in Exercise Cold Response 2020 throughout March in Norway. Exercise Cold Response 20 will test service members’ ability to operate in challenging arctic and mountainous conditions while conducting both offensive and defensive tactical operations.”

The most recent information provided by the Norwegian side suggests that closer to 20,000 troops will take place, rather than 15,000.

Initially, 10,500 US troops were to be deployed, but that number was reduced by 3,000.

The Norwegian Armed Forces confirm that the exercise will be held without all the planned American participation. It is the enhanced American engagement in the Middle East that has made the Pentagon change its plans, spokesman for the Norwegian Armed Forces’ operational headquarters. Lt. Col. Ivar Moen told NRK.

Thus, potential war with Russia will somewhat be left in the background, and instead focus needs to remain on the Middle East.

The Cold Response has been held every other year since 2006. This year’s exercise will be held mainly in the southern part of region Troms and Finnmark, the Norwegian Armed Forces said.

The distance to the Russian border is several hundred kilometers.

In order to make it as good as possible, Norway in 2020 will only take part in its own exercise, as well as the Swedish-organized exercise Aurora 2020.

“For 2020, Norway focuses on exercise Cold Response and participation in the Swedish exercise Aurora 2020, and therefore has little capacity to participate in any of the exercises in the U.S. Defender 2020 campaign plan,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense, Per-Thomas Bøe said.

Around the same time that Cold Response 2020 begins, the preparations for Defender Europe 2020 will be on-going.

With the bulk of activities to take place in April-May 2020, it will be the largest deployment of U.S.-based forces to Europe for an exercise in the last 25 years.

A total of 37,000 allied and U.S. service members are anticipated to participate with some 20,000 pieces of equipment to be shipped over to Europe from continental USA.

Twelve convoy routes will be used across the Atlantic and the first movement of arms will start in February.

U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn said in a press release that the exercise “is a great opportunity to demonstrate the US Army’s un-marched ability to rapidly project forces across the globe while operating alongside our allies and partners in multiple contested domains.”

Participating units will include a U.S. Army division headquarters, three armored brigade combat teams, a fire brigade, and a sustainment brigade; as well as planned U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps participation. Some units will deploy with their equipment from the United States while other U.S.-based units will deploy and draw Europe-based Army Prepositioned Stock vehicles and equipment.

In the North Sea and Baltic Sea regions, the following NATO members participate: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Among the others are Canada, Italy, France, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Two non-NATO countries to join are Finland and Georgia.

The exercise itself will take part across Europe, from Belgium and the Netherlands in the west, Germany and Czech Republic in Central Europe to Italy in the south and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Georgia in the east.

“Readiness is not only about having the right forces and capabilities in place throughout the theater, it’s about exercising our ability to quickly receive and integrate forces with our own and those of our allies and partners,” says Lt. Gen Christopher Cavoli, U.S. Army Europe commanding general in anther press statement.

“This ability is critical in projecting force at a moment’s notice, our readiness reassures our allies and deters potential adversaries,” he states, and says it will help deter threats:

“Conducting tough, realistic training alongside our allies and partners in Europe enhances those professional relationships that build trust and confidence in each other and increases our overall interoperability, readiness and the ability to collectively deter potential threats.”

The heavy deployments to Europe are a fact, and each of these exercises warrants a large deployment by the US, which results in the biggest military build-up on European soil since the Cold War era.

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