July 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army's Europe-based 7th Army announced on Monday that over 4,000 U.S. and allied troops will participate in "Saber Junction 20" exercises in August.
The annual event is conducted by the 7th Army Training Command and directed by U.S. Army Europe. It is designed to assess the readiness of the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade, the U.S. Army's Contingency Response Force in Europe, and "to execute unified land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating ally and partner nations," a 7th Army statement on Monday said.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is stationed in Germany and Italy. The exercises will be conducted at U.S. Army training facilities at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, Germany, from Aug. 3 to Aug. 27. Participating nations will include Albania, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, North Macedonia, Romania, Ukraine and the United States. All but Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are NATO member countries.
Safety measures, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, will be in place for the exercises. The Joint Multinational Readiness Center has already moved to the Hohenfels training area. Methods including temporary restriction of movements, social distancing and rotational shift work are parts of the plan.
"For Saber Junction 20, JMRC is creating the safety bubbles that will protect all forces along with the local community during the exercise," said Lt. Col. Kristopher Gillett, chief executive officer at JMRC.