Updated January 15th, 2024 at 10:03 IST

Britain commits 20,000 military personnel for NATO's Exercise Steadfast Defender to bolster alliance

The UK announces plans to contribute 20,000 military personnel, including 16,000 army troops, to NATO's Exercise Steadfast Defender 24 in Eastern Europe.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
This deployment, NATO's largest since the Cold War, emphasizes the alliance's commitment to collective defense. | Image:X/@BritishArmy

Britain has unveiled plans to commit 20,000 military personnel, including 16,000 army troops, in NATO's Exercise Steadfast Defender 24, set to take place in Eastern Europe from February to June. This deployment, marking NATO's 75th year, emphasizes the alliance's commitment to collective defense and readiness against potential threats. The exercise aims to showcase the collaborative efforts of North America and Europe in ensuring the security of member nations in challenging geopolitical environments. 

NATO is gearing up for its most extensive military exercise since the Cold War, with Steadfast Defender 2024 simulating various military scenarios, focusing on defense against a hypothetical adversary resembling a Russian-led coalition named Occasus. The exercise will involve 500 to 700 air combat missions, testing aerial capabilities and coordination. With over 50 naval vessels and approximately 41,000 troops participating, the exercise aims to enhance readiness and interoperability, emphasizing maritime security and ground operations. 


20,000 personnel to join NATO's Steadfast Defender against Putin's menace 

In a significant announcement, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps revealed that the UK would contribute 20,000 personnel to NATO's Steadfast Defender 24, marking one of NATO's largest deployments since the Cold War. This substantial commitment, including army troops, an aircraft carrier strike group, and F35B Lightning attack jets, underscores the UK's dedication to collective defense. Shapps emphasized the exercise's importance in providing reassurance against potential threats, particularly highlighting the "Putin menace" and reinforcing the UK's solidarity with NATO members.


Steadfast Defender 2024's overarching objective is to refine NATO's transformation from a crisis response organization into a robust war-fighting alliance. The exercise envisions repelling a hypothetical Russian-led attack on a NATO member state, demonstrating the alliance's preparedness and collective strength. The deployment of significant military assets underscores NATO's commitment to countering emerging security challenges and fostering unity among member nations. 

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps highlighted the exercise's significance in countering the geopolitical challenges posed by Russia, emphasizing the vital reassurance it provides. Last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced an increase in Britain's support for Ukraine to £2.5 billion, reinforcing the UK's commitment to supporting allies and addressing regional security concerns.


Published January 15th, 2024 at 10:03 IST