US army to test emergency deployment readiness in Poland

An initially planned for May, combined Allied Spirit exercise involving about 4,000 US troops and 2,000 Polish troops was conducted at Drawsko Pomorskie training ground in June as part of the large-scale Defender exercises. Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Five hundred soldiers of the US armored forces deployed to Europe as part of the Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise (EDRE) will exercise at Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, north-west Poland, from July 14 to August 23, the Polish defence ministry said on Friday.

The drills are to test the US army's ability to rapidly alert, recall and deploy its forces under emergency conditions anywhere in the world, according to the defence ministry's statement. The deployment of the American battalion is to check readiness to transfer troops across the Atlantic as part of allied assistance to European countries, the statement read.

"The US troops exercise at the Polish training ground in Drawsko Pomorskie is another opportunity to deepen cooperation at the tactical level between US and Polish soldiers," it added.

The US Department of Defense is sending to Poland around 500 soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood to train alongside the Polish soldiers of the 17th Mechanised Brigade from Miedzyrzecz and the 12th Mechanised Brigade from Szczecin.

The 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters (Forward) out of Poznan, western Poland, will serve as mission command for the exercise while the 7th Army Training Command out of Grafenwoehr, Germany, will provide exercise control.

The EDRE is part of the scaled-down version of Defender-Europe 20, a series of events that was intended to be among the largest in 25 years US army training exercises on the continent, the aim of which is to demonstrate the military’s ability to move large numbers of forces and equipment from the US to Europe. However, due to the coronavirus epidemic, many of the activities connected to Defender were cancelled because of health concerns.

An initially planned for May, combined Allied Spirit exercise involving about 4,000 US troops and 2,000 Polish troops was conducted at Drawsko Pomorskie training ground in June as part of the large-scale Defender exercises.

According to the Friday statement all necessary coronavirus prevention and mitigation measures will be taken during the upcoming drills to ensure the safety of participating soldiers and the local community."

EDRE involves moving 55 Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles from a US army storage site in Germany to Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area.