Today, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will visit the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and the Royal Danish Navy support ship HDMS Esbern Snare, flagship of NATO’s first Standing Maritime Group.
The visit is taking place in a context of preparations for the exercise Trident Juncture 2018 later this month.
Stoltenberg will be accompanied by the Chairman of the Military Committee Sir Stuart Peach; by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Curtis Scaparrotti; as well as other senior military officials, the NATOs press service reports.
Largest exercise since the Cold War
Trident Juncture 2018 will take place from 25 October to 7 November and is NATO's largest exercise since the Cold War.
It is happening in the air, on land and at sea, and around 50,000 personnel from 31 NATO and partner countries are testing their ability to operate together in order to defend its population and territories.
The exercise will take place in central and eastern Norway; the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, including Iceland as well as the airspace of Finland and Sweden. Some 150 aircrafts, 65 vessels and up to 10.000 vehicles are at disposal during the drill.
A stress-test of Norwegian defence plans
When Lieutenant General Rune Jakobsen, Commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters in Bodø, Norway participated at the Trident Juncture Press Conference Tuesday, he stated:
- Our political leaders were very pleased five years ago, when NATO decided to execute Trident Juncture 18 in Norway. In addition to the benefits of stress-testing our national defence plans, we provide NATO allies with first-hand experience of NATO’s Northern flank and, hopefully, in challenging weather conditions.
- Norway is a small country and our defence relies heavily on NATO’s collective defence. Invoking Article 5 means having to be able to receive Allied forces and reinforcements, and to do that we must have plans and we mush rehearse the plans. That is why Trident Juncture 18 is important for us, he continued.
Admiral James G. Foggo, Commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command Naples, is responsible for conducting the exercise.
- I am confident Trident Juncture will be an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate our unity and resolve, and I am very grateful to our very capable NATO ally and host nation Norway. General Jakobsen commands Norway’s Joint Force Headquarters in Bodø. I had the pleasure of visiting him the headquarters this year, and I am thrilled with their incorporation of NATO into Norway’s Total Defence concept. Their planning and support has been nothing short of stellar, Foggo stated at the press conference.