Exercise Griffin Shock was the first such test, with the US Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment deploying temporarily to Battlegroup Poland in May 2023.
The additional troops, armoured vehicles and artillery turned the battalion-sized battlegroup into a brigade of several thousand soldiers, all commanded by NATO’s Multinational Division North East. The United Kingdom and Germany conducted similar exercises, which took place in Estonia and Lithuania respectively in the following weeks.
This training exercise also supported NATO’s new defence plans, which were agreed at the 2023 Vilnius Summit to enhance the Alliance’s ability to keep its territory and citizens safe. NATO has eight battlegroups, which are located in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Each battlegroup is made up of contributing nations that serve, train and exercise together.
The battlegroups are not identical; their size and compositions are tailored to specific geographic factors and threats. The forward presence of Allied forces in the eastern part of the Alliance is a tangible reminder that an attack on one NATO Ally is an attack on all.
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