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NATO begins largest military exercises in decades

NATO

NATO began its largest military exercise since the Cold War on Wednesday (January 24). U.S. warships left their homeland, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and sailed toward NATO territorial waters in Europe.

The Western military alliance said it will have about 90,000 troops participating in the months-long “Steadfast Defender 2024” exercise, which is designed to test NATO’s defenses in the event of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The Alliance will demonstrate its ability to enhance Euro-Atlantic security by mobilizing forces from North America across the Atlantic,” said U.S. Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. “‘

Resolute Defender 2024′ “It will be a clear demonstration of our unity, strength, and determination to protect each other, our values, ​​and the rules-based international order.”

The exercise is designed to simulate how the 31-member NATO alliance responds to an attack by an adversary like Russia.

The exercise will include a series of smaller-scale, specific exercises stretching from North America to NATO’s eastern flank near the Russian border.

About 50 naval ships, 80 aircraft, and more than 1,100 combat vehicles will participate in the exercise.

The exercise is the largest since the 1988 Exercise “Reforger” during the Cold War. After Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, NATO has adjusted its defenses.

The NATO alliance has sent thousands of troops to its eastern flank and drawn up its most extensive plans since the collapse of the Soviet Union to defend against a Russian attack.

What is NATO?

NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), also known as the North Atlantic Alliance, stands as an intergovernmental military alliance comprising 31 member states, consisting of 29 European nations and two North American nations. Originating in the post-World War II era, the organization adopted the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949, in Washington, D.C. Functioning as a collective security system, NATO’s member states commit to defending each other against external attacks. Initially established as a deterrent to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, NATO persisted beyond the Soviet Union’s dissolution and the Warsaw Pact, engaging in military operations across the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. The organization’s guiding principle is encapsulated in its motto, “animus in consulendo liber” (Latin for ‘a mind unfettered in deliberation’).

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NATO’s primary headquarters is situated in Brussels, Belgium, with its military headquarters near Mons, Belgium. In response to evolving security challenges, NATO has bolstered its NATO Response Force deployments in Eastern Europe. The combined military forces of all NATO members account for approximately 3.5 million soldiers and personnel, contributing to around 55 percent of the global nominal total military spending as of 2022. Member states have collectively committed to achieving or maintaining a defense spending target of at least two percent of their GDP by 2024.

Founded with twelve original members, NATO has expanded its membership nine times, with Finland being the latest addition on April 4, 2023, marking the 74th anniversary of NATO’s formation. With Sweden’s application for membership accepted in June 2022, the country is poised to become the 32nd member as its accession protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty undergoes ratification by existing members. Furthermore, NATO recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine as aspiring members. While enlargement has led to tensions with non-member Russia, the Partnership for Peace program involves twenty additional countries, and nineteen countries engage in institutionalized dialogue programs with NATO.

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