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Ryan Robertson

Investigative Reporter/Anchor

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Military

Largest NATO exercises since Cold War underway

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Ryan Robertson

Investigative Reporter/Anchor

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s largest exercise since the Cold War is underway, with more than 90,000 troops participating. These defensive exercises are based on fictitious scenarios referencing Article 5, or the principle that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all of NATO.

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The Steadfast Defender 2024 exercise has been on the books for years, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted NATO to adjust its training accordingly.

Most of the exercises will focus on places like Finland, Estonia, Hungary, Romania and Norway. Though Sweden is not a part of NATO, it will host some exercises, as well. Altogether, these countries make up the entirety of NATO’s eastern flank facing Russia.

“The Alliance will demonstrate its ability to reinforce the Euro-Atlantic area via trans-Atlantic movement of forces from North America,” said Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

That means NATO is going to practice moving troops and equipment quickly to NATO’s eastern flank with Russia while the people already there practice holding down the fort.

The U.K.’s HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier was supposed to lead the naval exercises, but a propellor problem sidelined the ship.

HMS Prince of Wales is now leading the drills, which involve more than 50 naval vessels including destroyers, frigates and other aircraft carriers featuring jet fighters, helicopters and drones.

On land, NATO will make use of more than 1,000 combat vehicles, including around 150 tanks, 500 infantry fighting vehicles and 400 armored personnel carriers.

The drills are expected to wrap up at the end of May.

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[RYAN ROBERTSON]

NATO’S LARGEST EXERCISE IN DECADES IS UNDERWAY, BUT WITHOUT THE BRITISH AIRCRAFT CARRIER THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO LEAD IT.

THE STEADFAST DEFENSIVE EXERCISES ARE BASED ON FICTITIOUS ARTICLE 5 SCENARIOS TRIGGERED BY FICTITIOUS ATTACKS AGAINST AN ALLIANCE MEMBER. WHILE THIS YEAR’S EXERCISE MAY HAVE BEEN ON THE BOOKS FOR YEARS, RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE PROMPTED NATO TO ADJUST ITS TRAINING ACCORDINGLY.

THE BUIL OF THIS YEAR’S EXERCISES FOCUS ON PLACES LIKE FINLAND, ESTONIA, HUNGARY, ROMANIA AND NORWAY. EVEN THOUGH SWEDEN ISN’T PART OF NATO YET, THE COUNTRY WILL ALSO HOST SOME EXERCISES. SO BASICALLY, THE ENTIRETY OF NATO’S EASTERN FLANK FACING RUSSIA.

WITH MORE THAN 90,000 TROOPS ARE TAKING PART, ARMY GENERAL CHRISTOPHER CAVOLI, NATO’S SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDED IN EUROPE SAID, “THE ALLIANCE WILL DEMONSTRATE ITS ABILITY TO REINFORCE THE EURO-ATLANTIC AREA VIA TRANS-ATLANTIC MOVEMENT OF FORCES FROM NORTH AMERICA.”

TRANSLATION: THEY’RE GOING TO PRACTICE MPVING TROOPS AND EQUIPMENT QUICKLY TO NATO’S EASTERN FLANK WITH RUSSIA, WHILE THE FOLKS ALREADY THERE PRACTICE HOLDING DOWN THE FORT.

THE UK’S HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH CARRIER WAS SUPPOSED TO LEAD THE NAVAL EXERCISES, BUT A PROPELLOR PROBLEM SIDELINED THE SHIP. HOWEVER, THAT COULD ACTUALLY PROVIDE SOME MORE UNIQUE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES. AFTER ALL, FEW BATTLE PLANS SURVIVE IN THEIR ORIGINAL FORM AFTER CONTACT WITH THE ENEMY.

THE HMS PRINCE OF WALES IS NOW LEADING THE DRILLS, WHICH INLUDE MORE THAN 50 NAVAL VESSELS LIKE DESTROYERS, FRIGATES AND OF COURSE, OTHER AIRCRAFT CARRIERS THAT FEATURE SEVERAL TYPES OF JET FIGHTERS, HELICOPTERS AND DRONES.

ON LAND, STEADFAST DEFENDER WILL MAKE USE OF MORE THAN A THOUSAND COMBAT VEHICLES, INCLUDING AROUND 150 TANKS, 500 INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLES AND 400 ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRRIERS.

THIS YEAR’S DRILLS ARE EXPECTED TO WRAP UP AT THE END OF MAY.