Navy postpones Large Scale Exercise 2020 in response to COVID-19

March 25 (UPI) — The Navy confirmed Wednesday that it has postponed its Large Scale Exercise 2020 as the Navy and the joint force respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inside Defense first reported that the exercise will be postponed until 2021 to keep the fleet healthy but also to allow the services to contribute to whole-of-government efforts around the country.

The exercise was on track to continue as late as last week.

According to the Pentagon, the cancellation was a joint decision made by U.S. Fleet Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Europe.

According to USNI News, this was to be the first fleet exercise that incorporated unmanned technologies, as well as information warfare.

“We don’t do anything in the U.S military today without leveraging space,” CNO Admiral Mike Gilday said in December. “It’s the same thing with cyber. It’s why I want small tactical fleet cyber teams,” he said, adding that LSE 2020 would include a pilot program establishing information warfare cells and tactical cyber teams that work inside the existing fleet maritime operations center.

LSE 2020 is one of several exercises affected as the military adapts to social distancing recommendations and also offers its resources to help the U.S. health care system respond to the spread of the virus.

U.S. European Command and the Army have also altered plans for the Defender 2020 exercise scheduled later this spring, which was to bring 37,000 personnel from 18 countries from various parts of Europe.

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