Did You Know
Did You Know
The largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War has begun in Poland.
Around 31,000 soldiers from 24 countries are taking part in Anakonda 16.
The war games are being led by the US and Poland but involve troops from the UK, France, Portugal, Spain and other European nations.
We flew to the exercise with the Commander of the US Army in Europe, Lt Gen Ben Hodges.
"If there ever was a crisis we would have to be able to mass quickly to converge forces quickly, within about 72 hours."
Realistic, in the current set up?
"Not yet. That's what we're practising."
In the years of fighting counter-insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO has fallen out of practice. It is now re-engaging in Europe in the face of a confident and bullish Russia.
"What the alliance needs is the equivalent of a military Schengen Zone that would allow, assuming everyone meets the EU standards for the highway, for us to be able to move around."
The small details matter. Can an American fuel nozzle fit an Italian armoured vehicle, for example. Will a Spanish radio network talk to a Latvian counterpart.
Exercises like this are designed to identify and iron out problems. The key word is 'interoperability'. In English, this means ensuring kit and personnel work together effectively.
The opening set piece event of the exercise was a mass US, UK and Polish parachute drop.
Hundreds of troops jumped out of aircraft onto the Polish plains.
A few years ago President Obama wanted to pivot away from Europe and towards Asia. Russia has stopped the Americans from doing that.
With all the recent talk of an EU Army, I ask Gen Hodges if this is the sort of thing the union could do.
"The EU is extremely important but it's an economic and political organisation. NATO is a collective security organisation. And I think for nations that are already strapped to meet all their obligations as it is, to meet another would not seem helpful."
The bottom line is, Europe still needs the US military.
And Russia is watching this exercise. On last form, Moscow will react.