Modification of military exercise plans is a temporary and rational measure to prevent the coronavirus spread, Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis says
“We understand the decision of the United States that was made on the basis of assessment of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. All the countries, including Lithuania, are currently working to mitigate every risk related to the spread of the coronavirus; military personnel are actively deployed to assist other institutions countering the spread. I am confident that the modification of military exercises is just a rational measure responding to temporary circumstances the same way all COVID-19-related decisions are, and our bilateral cooperation with the U.S. will be regenerated to full force as soon as the coronavirus has been contained,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said after the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) announced the decision to modify the size and scope of the international Exercise Defence –Europe 20 earlier today.
In response to the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and recent guidance by the Secretary of Defense, exercise Defender-Europe 20 has been modified in size and scope. According to EUCOM, as of March 13, all movement of personnel and equipment from the United States to Europe ceased and the linked exercises to Exercise Defender-Europe 20 – Dynamic Front, Joint Warfighting Assessment, Saber Strike and Swift Response – will not be conducted. Joint Warfighting Assessment, Saber Strike and Swift Response would have been held in the territory of Lithuania too.
The armored brigade combat team already deployed to Europe will conduct gunnery and other combined training events with Allies as part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise. Forces already deployed to Europe for other linked exercises will return to the United States.