The exercises codenamed Steadfast Defender-24, including the Dragon-24 exercise conducted by Poland, will be the largest demonstration of NATO’s defense capabilities since 1999, the General Command of the Armed Forces said in a statement.
In the first half of 2024, NATO will conduct a series of exercises under the common code name Steadfast Defender -24 (STDE-24). About 90,000 soldiers from all over will take part in the exercises, which will take place mainly in Central Europe NATO countries and Sweden.
The exercises will test the ability of Alliance forces to deter and defend, including repelling an attack by a potential adversary on NATO countries.
As reported by the General Command, during STDE-24 Poland will play the role of one of the host countries and will host a significant number of allied soldiers and equipment on its territory.
“The key element of STDE-24 will be the Polish national exercise with the participation of the armed forces of other countries, Dragon-24 (DR-24), which will start at the turn of February and March,” it was reported.
The General Command emphasizes that both STDE-24 and DR-24 are defensive exercises and are not directed against any country. As explained in the statement, the exercises are a demonstration of the ability to counter the aggressive policy and provocative activity of the Russian Federation.
NATO exercises as a test of the capabilities of the Polish Armed Forces
“Steadfast Defender 24 exercises, including national exercises with the participation of the armed forces of other countries, such as Dragon-24 or the Defender-24 exercise organized by US European Command, will constitute the largest demonstration of the defense capabilities of the Alliance and its member states since 1999, since the so-called first wave of NATO enlargement, which included Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary,” the statement noted. As added, the exercises will coincide with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of NATO.
The General Command explains that exercise DR-24 will be a test of the ability of the Polish Armed Forces to respond to a potential multidimensional crisis of an armed nature. DR-24, as emphasized, will thus contribute to strengthening the Alliance’s deterrence and defense potential, demonstrating the strength and determination that result from its unity.
A total of approximately 20,000 soldiers and 3.5,000 units of equipment from 10 NATO countries will be involved in the DR-24 exercise, including approximately 15,000 soldiers from the Polish Armed Forces.
“They will be tested for cooperation and performance of combat tasks on land, in the air and at sea. In addition to military operations in the above-mentioned domains, military operations will also be carried out in cyberspace,” the DG said.
Military vehicles on Polish public roads
Soldiers of the 11th Lubusz Armored Cavalry Division and soldiers of special forces, air forces, navy and territorial defense will take part in the exercise.
As stated in the announcement, this year’s event will also involve elements of allied forces present in Poland, including the NATO eFP (enhanced Forward Presence) battle group.
The General Command explains that the exercise will be divided into two phases. “During the first phase, the actions will be carried out in the context of a crisis situation, and in the second phase – as part of a defense operation,” it was noted.
The key elements of the exercise, as indicated by the DG, will be the crossing of allied troops across the Vistula River and the movement of the NATO Quick Reaction Forces (VJTF), which will be an element connecting DR-24 with the BRILLIANT JUMP-24 exercise.
“This will mean, among other things, that both wheeled and tracked military vehicles will also move on public roads throughout the territory of the Republic of Poland,” the release said.
Main photo source: TVN24