NATO has launched a joint military exercise in Albania with thousands of military forces from the United States and other countries in the first such large-scale drills since World War II in the Western Balkans, a US army official said on Thursday.
Colonel Joseph Scrocca said, “a staunch NATO ally since 2009, Albania is a valued security partner both regionally and globally.”
“Albania is playing a critical part in the DEFENDER-Europe 21 exercise with Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore operations taking place for the first time in Europe since World War II at the Port of Durres,” Scrocca said in an online briefing.
Since April 26, US troops have been deployed to hold training in five other military land, naval, and air bases in Albania until June 10. The sealift ship USNS Bob Hope will demonstrate the unloading of heavy equipment onto smaller vessels that will transfer the cargo to shore for onward movement.
“This historic mission demonstrates our ability to serve as a strategic security partner in the western Balkans and Black Sea regions,” Scrocca said.
DEFENDER-Europe is an annual large-scale US Army-led, multinational exercise, defensive in nature and focused on deterring aggression, which this year focuses on building operational readiness and interoperability with NATO and a greater number of allies and partners over a wider area of operations than ever before.