This April NATO celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Washington Treaty of 1949.
From the very beginning, our defensive Alliance has had the primary goal of preserving peace and defending Allies against any threat. Indeed, collective security underwrites our collective prosperity and freedom.
I know of no better example of the sheer scale and credibility of the Alliance's resolve than Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018.
Our Live Exercise (LIVEX) was indeed massive, and the act of pulling it off indeed sent a loud message to the world of NATO's capability and resolve. With over 50,000 troops from all 29 NATO Allies, plus Sweden and Finland, along with more than 250 aircraft, some 70 ships and approximately 10,000 rolling vehicles, TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 was the largest NATO exercise since the Cold War.
Because NATO is a defensive Alliance, we are open and transparent in what we do. We announced early our intent, and invited observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Some 22 from 14 Nations attended.
All observers left clearly understanding this was a defensive exercise in an Article 5, collective defence scenario - "an attack on one, is an attack on all" - with fictional north and south forces.
Photo by Intrepid TV, Forsvaret
First and foremost, NATO proved our Member Nation militaries are interoperable. I personally witnessed the six maneuver brigades on the ground-all led by different Nations-training with each other as the scenario and scripting unfolded. Each had unique equipment, but both equipment and training matched NATO standards, which we have developed and enhanced for decades. Allied Land Command and the 1 (German/Netherlands) Corps orchestrated this land maneuver brilliantly, supported by Allied Air Command.
In what came as a surprise to exercise planners, my Nation contributed the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, its air wing and strike group ships. In stride, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) took command and control of the Truman strike group, seamlessly integrating it into the fight.
It was magnificent to see this remarkable maritime force train against the force led by Allied Maritime Command.
But preceding and following the action, came a remarkable feat of military mobility: getting the troops and equipment into and out of Norway and the surrounding area.
Since the time of Alexander the Great, we have studied the art and science of military logistics, and pontificated about its importance to the fight. TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 displayed the extraordinary capability of our logistics professionals in a way not seen for decades in Europe. We assembled more than 1,000 logistics professionals in our Joint Logistics Support Group, which stood up in September, and finally stood down in late December, moving more than six equivalent brigades in and out of Norway-via road, rail and ship-in winter conditions.
Photo by Ole-Sverre Haugli, Forsvaret
Playing into the exercise preparation and execution was Mother Nature. Norway was the perfect location for the Alliance to rejuvenate its capability to operate on grand scale in the High North. October and November in Norway is a demanding environment. Rain, sleet, snow, freezing and thawing conditions abound, and we got all of them throughout the spaces in which we trained. From the final years of the Cold War, we re-learned as individual Nations, and as an Alliance, simple things like how to dress properly, use snow tires and chains, and drive defensively on icy roads.
Command and Control is important in military operations everywhere, and we worked hard to get it right in this exercise. We worked hard at understanding supported and supporting relationships, and our commanders from all Nations worked hard to maneuver their units harmoniously to maximize our joint and combined battlefield effect.
While all Allies embrace their own military doctrine, and our Alliance benefits with the best-of-the-best practices from our Nations-and indeed our Alliance benefits from this collaboration.
In short, we nailed it!
None of this could have happened without an incredible effort from Norway, under the rubric of the Total Defence Concept.
Our Norwegian political and military leadership committed to hosting TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 more than five years ago. Their planning and execution as Host Nation was better than I could have ever imagined it.
And as real-world geo-political and military activity has unfol ded, Norway's geo-strategic importance on NATO's Northern Flank has significantly increased in importance. I am proud to have the absolute highest trust and confidence in Norway's contributions to NATO.
Photo by JWC Public Affairs Office
The TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 Command Post Exercise (CPX) November 14-23 stressed the Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples Headquarters and led to the full certification of JFC Naples for leading the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2019-no small feat!
The exercise scenario was complex and intellectually taxing. Our NATO team was ready. JFC Naples is now responsible for the NRF19, under Allied Command Operations (ACO) and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 and NRF19 certification were due in no small part to Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) Stavanger.
Those of us in ACO cannot do our job without ACT, and JWC Stavanger is the linchpin for major exercises such as TRIDENT JUNCTURE. They are the masters of doctrine and best practices, scenario-building and scripting and mentorship, and this edition of The Three Swords Magazine importantly illustrates and articulates their mission in image and words.
Admiral James Foggo
Commander Allied Joint Force Command Naples
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