Military exercises are a critical means of testing, refining and demonstrating readiness for combat operations. In February 2015, we published a chart comparing the magnitudes of military exercises conducted by NATO and Russia.
The contrast was jarring, with Russian exercises dwarfing those of NATO. The updated chart captures much of that data and indicates that since then, the NATO-Russia Exercise Gap, though reduced, remains strategically significant.
In 2013 and 2014, Russia frequently executed large scale exercises. These included at least six drills involving between 65,000 and 155,000 personnel—four of them over 100,000 personnel each. In contrast, the largest exercise conducted by NATO or allied forces during that timeframe brought 16,000 to the field.
Russia’s military conducted numerous no-notice “snap” exercises, sometimes involving 50,000 personnel. Some “snap” drills were personally ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. They test a military’s ability to mobilize and deploy with immediacy…
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