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New for 2020: A few big, new Army training exercises are coming

The Army is gearing up for some new exercises.

The biggest one on the docket is Defender 2020. Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy said that it will be similar in size and scope to Exercise Reforger — a Cold War-era strategic deployment of a division or more to West Germany in annual iterations.

The new exercise, held from April to May, will move roughly 20,000 U.S. troops from the continental United States to Europe. But elsewhere in the world, Army leaders are planning other new and interesting training iterations to keep an eye on.

The Army component of U.S. Africa Command recently took the African Lion exercise from the Marine Corps and plans to make it the biggest on the African continent in spring 2020.

The Corps has owned the exercise for nearly two decades, but Army Africa is assuming responsibility for planning and execution when it takes place at the end of March and early April.

Army Africa commander Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier plans to give the exercise more of a multi-domain focus, including strategic logistics planning, naval gunfire, special operations forces and even bombers out of Europe.

Army South is also planning to send a Stryker battalion to Chile for the first strategic deployment of that kind called Southern Vanguard in October 2020, according to Maj. Gen. Daniel Walrath, Army South’s commander.

“It will involve strategic deployment from the continental United States to Chile of a Stryker battalion out of the 81st Washington Army National Guard,” Walrath said. The battalion will conduct “combined live fire training with the Chilean Army for about a six-week period from beginning to end.”

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