Global Defender Exercises: Tests Underway Until September

The US Army’s Global Defender exercises are currently underway to test their proficiency and hone their skills.

Every army around the globe spends weeks or months each year testing its equipment and personnel readiness. Nothing should be read into the United States Army doing so now, for the next several months. It is simply a routine series of drills that occur regularly to ensure all facets of the American military are up to the strict standards each division sets for itself.

Therefore, it’s important not to view these tests by the US as ominous or indicative of something – they have been scheduled for some time now, and will continue until September.

An Abrams on exercise.
The exercises include all types of military equipment, including tanks.

But to civilians, the timing could not be more relevant.

The U.S. Army is flexing its muscles at the precise moment that Russian president Vladimir Putin is using his. As of February 24th, the day Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, the limited diplomatic relations between the two super powers fractured, perhaps irretrievably so.

It is not known how long-lasting this fractured relationship will be. Some say it will last at least until the war is over, while others say it will take decades to repair.

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The exercises now underway across the continental United States test both its preparedness to face a conflict now, should the need arise, but also future readiness.

General James McConville, chief of staff for the U.S. Army, said in a recent news item announcing the tests, “We don’t get to decide when to go… We must be ready to fight and win today…”

The tests and drills involve approximately 20,000 personnel from several branches of the military, including the Cavalry and Air Defense. Tanks and other equipment, including missiles, are also checked and tested. Although most of the men and women participating in the drills are from the Army, the Navy and Air Force supply personnel as well.

Troops on exercise.
Military servicemembers from all branches participate.

Global Defender exercises are meant to challenge the Army’s readiness and modernization. The tests “employ and assess” what the military calls “multi-domain concepts,” that reveal its preparation for war. The exercises also test whether the U.S. military has met its objectives for being the most modern and powerful military in the world.

Phase 1 consists of tests on tanks and other equipment. Less tangible tests include finding out whether tactics now in place are as refined as they should be. In other words, take plans made in the hypothetical realm and put them to the test in a practical, real world setting.

Army officials refer to the Global Defense exercises as the “premiere” training event of the military. Tests are conducted right across the country, in states including California, Georgia and New Mexico. Each is home to a significant base of U.S. Army operations.

US troops in a forest.
The exercise covers different enviroments, terrain and actions to test proficiency in the widely varying nature of warfare.

The second phase begins in August, and continues until late September. This part of Global Defense focuses on precision, timing and navigation drills.

America is certainly not alone in paying close attention these days to its military readiness.

Recently the U.K. announced an increase to its inventory of Boxer land vehicles, bumping up the number by 100 to more than 600. That deal saw production ramp up in several locations in the U.K., and also in Munich. Germany and Great Britain are partners in the making of Boxer land vehicles.

The world watches uneasily as events unfold in Ukraine. Although military preparedness is a vital and ongoing part of every country’s defense, it seems particularly relevant today. After all, Russia continues issuing overt messages about what it perceives as threats by the West.

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And the West, as always, must ensure military operations are ready for any eventuality. It is not an overstatement to say that most nations are on edge. Whether they are supplying Ukraine with arms and ammunition or not, no nation watching the war can be indifferent to the great suffering all wars cause, on every side of every conflict.