Berlin (dpa) – In the coming year, Germany will be the logistical hub of a major exercise led by the US armed forces, the Defence Ministry told German lawmakers.
Ministry informed the representatives of the parliamentary groups on the defence committee late Tuesday that 16 other NATO states, including Germany, will also be involved in the exercise.
In the exercise “Defender 2020,” (DEF 20) the US military is training for the rapid deployment of a division to Poland and the Baltic states, according to the letter seen by dpa.
Between April and May, the troops would be moved through Germany with the support of the Bundeswehr, the letter states.
Three so-called convoy support centres for the military columns and the construction of fuelling facility at the Bergen military training area in north-western Germany are planned.
The German army is also to participate “in the areas of combat, combat support and command.” According to US reports, it will be the largest exercise of its kind in Europe in 25 years with about 20,000 soldiers.
“The US-led DEF 20 exercise is designed to practice the rapid deployment of larger units across the Atlantic and across Europe to ensure that the appropriate procedures are in place in the event of a crisis,” Tuesday’s letter said.
It added that Germany has a vital interest in demonstrating that, as a hub and transit country, it fulfils a central role in NATO and can thus make a substantial contribution to “common European and Euro-Atlantic security.”
The opposition Left Party criticized that the exercise would lead to reactions from Russia. “which means that further escalation is inevitable. De-escalation no longer seems to exist in NATO’s vocabulary,” said Alexander Neu, the party’s defence expert.
In January, Germany took over the leadership of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, which was founded as a reaction of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.