90,000 NATO soldiers are about to conduct the largest exercise in 35 years
NATO soldiers and armor rehearse in Klusy, Poland in November 2022. Photo: Reuters

NATO announced that the alliance will organize the largest exercise in decades with 90,000 soldiers and more than 1,100 combat vehicles.

The exercise, called Steadfast Defender 2024, will begin next week and last until the end of May with units from all 31 NATO member countries and candidate Sweden, said General Christopher Cavoli, commander of the Supreme Command. NATO’s European Allies announced on January 18.

The exercise will include a series of activities stretching from North America to NATO’s eastern flank, near the border with Russia. About 90,000 soldiers, 50 warships, 80 military aircraft and more than 1,100 combat vehicles will participate in the exercise.

This is NATO’s largest exercise since 1988, taking place when the alliance reformed its forces amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. NATO has mobilized thousands of soldiers to the eastern flank and drawn up the most extensive plans to deal with Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Admiral Rob Bauer, Chairman of the NATO Military Commission Military Commission, said the scale of the exercise was a testament to the alliance’s “new state of readiness.” “This is a record number of troops that we can mobilize to participate in an exercise of this scale, stretching across the territory of alliance member countries, across the ocean from the US to Europe,” Admiral Bauer said.

Mr. Bauer also warned that the societies of NATO member countries must prepare better for future conflicts with Russia. “We need to understand that peace does not come naturally. That is why we need to plan and prepare for a conflict,” Admiral Bauer said, “We do not want a conflict to break out, But be ready if they attack.”

According to Admiral Bauer, the Russian army is “severely in decline” due to the conflict with Ukraine, but the Russian navy and air force are still formidable military services. Western sanctions have hindered Russia’s efforts to rebuild its forces, but the country still can increase artillery and missile production.