Biggest-ever joint military exercise dubbed Anakonda 2018 will be held in Poland in summer 2018. These maneuvers promise to become the most ambitious since the end of the Cold War. Since 2006 Anaconda is conducted on the territory of Poland every two years under the direction of operational command of the Polish Armed Forces.
Poland's minister of defense Antoni Macierewicz said that the main purpose of Anaconda 2018 exercise will be testing NATO countries' capabilities to protect the eastern flank of the alliance. He added that due to the complex geopolitical situation on the eastern flank of NATO, this exercise should be deterrent and demonstrate alliance's might .
Exercise tasks will involve responding to the emerging military threats, including conventional and hybrid warfare. The scenario of maneuvers presupposes preemptive strikes and preventive actions on the eastern flank.
The number of US troops in Europe has been increasing for almost two years. Currently, NATO soldiers form four major NATO battle groups in Poland and in the Baltic States. Their total number is about 15,000 soldiers and 3,500 military vehicles. At least 10 US military bases were built and the exact number of soldiers is unknown.
According to sources in NATO, about 100,000 troops will take part in Anaconda 2018 maneuvers, including 20,000 from Poland. Troops from several NATO countries and five partner countries will participate in the drill. 5,000 vehicles, 150 aircraft and helicopters, 45 warships will be used in the exercise.
Minister of national defense Antoni Macierewicz stressed that during the exercise troops of Territorial Defense Force will be deployed for the second time, and they will permanently join the Polish Armed Forces as a separate branch.
" We have large number of troops in the Baltic States and Poland, as well as in the Black Sea region, and the probability of an incident can be quite high because of human or technical error. We hope that such an unintended incident will not turn into a conflict," said General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee. He stressed that the US Army has deployed a lot of soldiers, including the National Guard, and a significant amount of military equipment. "In other words, the whole US Army will be involved in the Anaconda exercises. We have already made the conclusions about logistics, interoperability and command structures in the international environment," he added.
" Having large-scale NATO forces in the Baltic States and Poland, as well as the lack of transparency -- we see serious preparation for a great war," said in an interview US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. "US Army is determined to participate," Gen. Mark Milley added.
" No one should question the US involvement in peace and security in Europe," said in turn Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe.
Anaconda 2018 is the most important exercise of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland with the participation of national contingents from more than half of NATO and partner countries. "This year a joint drill is aimed to ensure security in a transparent manner," said General Marek Tomaszycki.
Anaconda 2018 will be held in summer with the participation of seven main international command structures and troops of four components: land, air, sea and special forces. 100,000 troops will participate in maneuvers, including about 20,000 soldiers from Poland and 5,000 pieces of military equipment, 150 aircraft, 45 warships.