NATO launching largest drills since Cold War
The big picture: "That is a record number of troops that we can bring to bear and have an exercise within that size, across the alliance, across the ocean, from the U.S. to Europe," said NATO Military Committee chair Adm. Rob Bauer at a briefing announcing the plans Thursday.
By the numbers: Called Steadfast Defender 2024, the drills will include at least 1,100 combat vehicles, 80 aircraft and 50 naval vessels from all 31 NATO member countries and candidate Sweden from next week through May, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, U.S. Gen. Christopher Cavoli told reporters.
What they're saying: Cavoli said NATO "will demonstrate its ability to reinforce the Euro-Atlantic area via trans-Atlantic movement of forces from North America."
- Bauer said "it's not a given that we are in peace and that's why we have the plans, that's why we are preparing for a conflict with Russia" and terrorist groups "if it comes to it, if they attack" a NATO country.
- "We're not seeking any conflict, but if they attack us we have to be ready," added Bauer, who noted the threat of Putin's forces was nothing new, with a strategic NATO document identifying Russia as "the most significant and direct threat to Allies' security and to peace and stability."
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