NATO exercise in Norway on track

Norway will host NATO exercise Trident Juncture this fall, with an expected 35,000 soldiers participating

Trident Juncture 2018

Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret
Norwegian Chief of Defence Haakon Bruun-Hanssen welcomes NATO Admiral James G. Foggo III to a meeting at his office in Oslo this February.

Anders Fjellestad
Armed Forces Media Center

One of NATO’s key goals is to increase its level of exercising. In February 2015, NATO accepted Norway’s offer to host Trident Juncture 2018, which will be a major, high-visibility exercise in the alliance’s northernmost area. As NATO’s military action in Afghanistan winds down, it is important for the alliance to keep up its military cooperation, and continue integrating the skills and the experience it gained during many years of joint ISAF operations in Afghanistan.

To achieve this, NATO has initiated Trident Juncture, held every third year. It is one of the largest exercises in the alliance. The first Trident Juncture exercise took place in Portugal, Spain, and Italy in 2015.

Trident Juncture 2018 will consist of a live exercise in October and November and a Command Post Exercise in November 2018.

“The preparations are going extremely well; we are on track,” says Admiral James G. Foggo III, commander of exercise Trident Juncture in Norway this autumn.

The American admiral visited Norway early this year as part of the preparations ahead of Trident Juncture. The exercise will take place in central and eastern parts of Norway, and an expected 35,000 soldiers from more than 20 countries are to take part. It will be the largest military exercise in Norway for decades.

“It is very important for NATO to show that it is ready to defend and deter in any geographic part of the alliance—whether it be in North America or here in Europe. And so we bring 35,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, over 60 ships and about 130 aircraft into the exercise,” says Foggo.

The admiral is the commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples. The command plans and conducts military operations and exercises, including Trident Juncture. Foggo is looking forward to bringing NATO troops into Norway.

“Norway is a very important member of the alliance, strategically located in the North Atlantic. It will also give us an opportunity to train in weather that is different,” he says.

“We learn how to operate on a rocky coast, which is a little more difficult for amphibious landings, and we learn how to operate in cold or foul weather. It is very important to be versatile for any military force that is going to operate anywhere in the world, like NATO could if necessary.”

Back in the 1980s, the admiral served on board a submarine and spent two years operating in the Baltic Sea and the waters between Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

“It is extremely challenging to work inside an archipelago like that. It’s the same thing here along the Norwegian coast. It’s a training environment that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. We get a lot out of it,” the admiral says.

Exercise Trident Juncture will train NATO troops in working and operating seamlessly together. For Norway, the exercise will test the country’s ability to receive and handle all the foreign troops and capacities.

Norwegian Chief of Defense Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, says the exercise will be an opportunity for the Norwegian armed forces to test Norway’s Total Defense Concept. The concept is Norway’s civilian-military cooperation, involving the armed forces and a range of civilian departments and authorities.

“If we are able to support NATO in reacting quickly, we will increase our ability to deter and to demonstrate that our Total Defense Concept works. In this regard, Trident Juncture is the finishing touch. If we do well and show that we’ve got what it takes, it will strengthen the credibility of Norwegian defense and NATO cooperation,” Bruun-Hanssen says.

During his visit in Norway, Foggo met with the commanders of the Norwegian armed forces. The Trident Juncture commander has been in Norway several times and finds the cooperation between Norway and NATO “exceptional.”

“I have operated outside and inside the Norwegian coast, and I find that my partners here, in the Norwegian armed forces, are some of the most professional members in the alliance. It is always a pleasure to work with them.” he says.

This article originally appeared in the April 20, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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