REdeployment of FORces to GERmany (REFORGER): Military Exercises with a Diplomatic Purpose

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The Ohio State University

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From 1969 to 1993, the United States and NATO conducted a series of exercises called the Redeployment of Forces to Germany, or REFORGER. For years, historians writing about REFORGER have analyzed the exercises through the lens of evolving military doctrine, U.S. deployment capabilities, or magnified views of individual exercises that were more impactful than others. These analyses paint REFORGER as a series of exercises meant to prepare for the defense of Western Europe in the event of a Soviet invasion. While this thesis acknowledges the military purpose of the exercises and discusses the military strategic advancements the necessitated REFORGER, it also argues that REFORGER's primary mission was diplomatic – to cement the relationship between the United States and its NATO allies. Primary source materials from the National Archives and Records Administration and the U.S. Army Heritage Education Center show that the United States used REFORGER as a way to preserve the U.S.-NATO relationship throughout the Cold War. The REFORGER exercises were also essential to the development of logistical planning in the U.S. military. In 1969, during the first REFORGER exercise, the 24th Infantry Division deployed to Germany within thirty days of mobilization. This thesis shows how that mobilization and deployment evolved and was executed and became the blueprint for future REFORGER deployments. Lastly, this thesis presents REFORGER as an essential part of evolving Cold War strategies and positions the exercises in the context of U.S. and Allied military policy and strategy. REdeployment of FORces to GERmany (REFORGER): Military Exercises with a Diplomatic Purpose, is the first history to focus solely on the REFORGER series as its own event and fills a gap in Cold War History.



Cold War, Military Exercise, NATO, United States Army, REFORGER, U.S. and European Diplomacy