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Defence

DIO helps underpin NATO’s largest exercise in decades

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has been enabling and supporting Exercise Steadfast Defender 2024, NATO’s largest military exercise since the Cold War.

Enabling Group South’s Chief of Staff, Major Laurence Lee outlined (above) how DIO are supporting Ex Steadfast Defender in Sennelager.

The five months exercise, which coincides with the NATO Alliance’s 75th anniversary, started in January this year and involves over 90,000 troops from all 32 NATO allies. The exercise has two stages, with the first focusing on securing the Atlantic and a second phase moving forces eastward into central and eastern Europe. Ex Steadfast Defender demonstrates NATO’s ability to defend every inch of its territory and the NATO allies’ commitment to protect each other from any threat.  

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Above: DIO’s Primary Bulk Fuel Installation provides combat vehicles used in Ex Steadfast Defender 2024 with the fuel needed to complete exercises.
Crown Copyright: MoD 2024

One of the many ways DIO is supporting Ex Steadfast Defender is at NATO Holding Base Sennelager, in Germany. Sennelager is being used to receive and stage a huge number of military personnel and their equipment as part of the exercise. Staging sees arriving personnel provided with accommodation, food and kit whilst ensuring logistics are in place so the required military vehicles are all simultaneously ready to deploy east on the exercise.

DIO provides the required facilities and infrastructure needed as part of the exercise including meals, accommodation, storage, vehicle workshops and all manner of building requirements.  

Enabling Group South’s Chief of Staff, Major Laurence Lee explained more about how DIO are supporting Ex Steadfast Defender in Sennelager.

One example of the unique infrastructure required for large scale exercises like Steadfast Defender is a Primary Bulk Fuel Installation (PBFI) which stores large amounts of fuel. For a modern exercise like Steadfast Defender which involves more than 1,100 combat vehicles including tanks, Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Armoured Personnel carriers, fuel is a valuable commodity.  

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DIO worked closely with the British Army to find a suitable location for the PBFI in Sennelager with safety considerations being a priority when dealing with fuel. DIO liaised with host nation, Germany to ensure there are no environmental impacts and we are compliant with local legislation.  

DIO’s support to NATO takes place on British soil too, for example facilitating NATO exercises like Joint Warrior, or hosting NATO Allied countries for their training in the UK. DIO's Defence Training Estate (DTE) colleagues enable our Armed Forces to train and prepare for NATO exercises. Before deploying on large scale NATO exercises like Steadfast Defender, participating personnel need to ensure their skills and relevant training is up to date. The DTE team manages the diverse training areas around the UK and overseas, ensuring they are both safe and fit for purpose. This enables our Armed Forces to focus on their important training, practice their combat skills and be ready to deploy on exercises and operations around the world.

B Company 4SCOTS, Section Commander Cpl Sheppard explained how DIO’s work helps his company prepare to deploy on NATO exercises.
 

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