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    Historical Port Offers Strategic Access, DEFENDER-Europe 21

    Historical Port Offers Strategic Access, DEFENDER-Europe 21

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Bryson | U.S. Army Gen. Chris Cavoli, commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, stands at the...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Bryson 

    U.S. Army Europe and Africa   

    TIRANA, Albania–U.S. Army Gen. Chris Cavoli, commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, visited the historic Port of Durres, May 4, 2021, to observe Joint Logistics Over-the Shore operations and to participate in the DEFENDER-Europe 21 Opening Ceremony and Distinguished Visitor Day, which marked the kick-off of this year’s U.S. Army led-DEFENDER- Europe exercises.

    “Defender 21 is an opportunity to practice all the levels of our readiness,” Cavoli said. “Our tactical readiness, of course, because we will be conducting exercises with our allies– and we will be conducting unilateral exercises, working on our readiness and our interoperability with our allies throughout southeast Europe.”

    Cavoli added that DEFENDER-Europe 21 also includes some parts of northeastern Europe, specifically Estonia, where the 82nd Airborne will be conducting a parachute drop.

    Tactical readiness starts at the ground level with individual soldier tasks and skills, then moves up to the brigade level. Each step of the way troops and leaders are pushed to become proficient at their jobs and integrate with their cohorts.

    At the operational level, U.S. joint forces will have the opportunity to practice large scale maneuvers and the interaction of command posts as U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force personnel, along with their multinational allies and partners, take part in the training exercise, explained Cavoli.

    Cavoli stressed the importance of the Port of Durres and the ongoing logistics operations that will provide support and sustainment to the troops in the field as they train to respond to any regional threat or crisis.

    “Most of all, what we are looking at here at this port today is strategic readiness– that is, our ability as a nation and as an army to project power across vast distances and then to assemble that power and move it into the proper locations,” Cavoli said.

    Cavoli explained that different components of readiness: tactical, operational, and strategic, take a different type of rehearsal.

    “But when you get a single exercise that allows you to (rehearse) all of those functions at the same time, it’s a really fantastic opportunity, “ Cavoli said.

    Not only will the DEFENDER-Europe 21 test the skills of U.S. troops on the ground, but it will provide important rehearsals for any real-time ciris that might occur and allow U.S. joint forces to work together to build greater interoperability between the branches.

    “You have to practice in order to find the places where your procedures are different and where your technical lash up isn't quite there,” Cavoli explained.

    That need for interoperability extends to our allies and partners, as well.

    “In Europe we are going to fight with our allies– it’s as simple as that,” Cavoli said.

    Cavoli explained that it is critical that allied nations practice procedures and technical interoperability– and establish the strong working relationships that create human interoperability.

    This year’s exercise, hosted for the first time here, builds on the already strong friendship between the U.S. and Albania and places emphasis on Albania's extreme geographic importance.

    Located in the southwest Balkans, the port of Durres gives the U.S. and allies access to the Balkan area. The ongoing logistic operations will provide support and sustainment to troops in the field as they train to respond to any crisis or threat in the region.

    “It's a great strategic port. It has been for centuries– a millennia. This is where Julius Caesar came in when he was chasing Pompey,” explained Cavoli.

    Evidence to the rich strategic history of Durres lies just a few minutes away, where the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre and a Venetian tower can still be seen.

    “It’s a big event and we are excited to be here,” Cavoli said, beaming. “We are stronger together, always.”

    DEFENDER-Europe 21 is a large-scale U.S. Army-led exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the U.S., NATO allies and partner militaries. This year, more than 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations will conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in more than a dozen countries from the Baltics to the strategically important Balkans and Black Sea Region. Follow the latest news and information about DEFENDER-Europe 21, visit



    Date Taken: 05.05.2021
    Date Posted: 05.06.2021 04:56
    Story ID: 395769
    Location: DURRES, AL 

    Web Views: 578
    Downloads: 0