Over 40,000 people will be involved in the upcoming “Exercise Trident Juncture 2018” this year. The purpose of the event will be to bolster defense efforts against “any threat, from any direction, at any time,” said Navy Adm. James G. Foggo III. The announcement was made in Brussels at the NATO headquarters, and the exercise will span from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7. Norway will be the host nation.

Over 30 Allied nations will be involved in the NATO exercise, though NATO itself only has 29 member states. NATO nations in particular are bound to one another — their Article 5 states that an attack on one country is an attack on the rest. Article 5 was invoked after the terrorist attacks on the United States on 9/11, which spawned immediate action from 13 NATO nations (the first use of Article 5 in NATO’s history). Bolstering readiness and response in the spirit of Article 5 is the primary goal of this exercise.

Exercise Trident Juncture 18 will employ military units in the air, on the water and on the ground. Prior to the official start date, some naval exercises will be conducted off the coast of Iceland in mid-October.

This operation will test and increase tactical skills on both an individual and a mass level, and in an unforgiving environment. “Statistically, there will be rain and/or snow and wind. And, there actually might be a lot of it,” said Norwegian navy Vice Adm. Ketil Olsen.

The training event will also test the logistics of such a massive operation. It’s one thing to coordinate multiple branches within the same military to accomplish a goal, but it’s another thing entirely to coordinate and command militiaries from multiple nations. Honing the logistical skills necessary to effectively command and control these massive elements will be crucial when/if Article 5 is to be invoked again in the future.

Adm. Foggo said that,

NATO is a defensive Alliance. We’re not looking for a fight, but we are committed to defense and deterrence. That’s what this exercise is all about: training to defend, and providing a deterrent effect, ready to respond to any threat from any direction at any time.”

NATO Deputy Spokesperson Piers Cazalet said,

Trident Juncture 18 is one of a series of long-planned exercises to ensure that NATO Allies are ready to deal with any emerging crisis from any direction, and that they are able to work effectively with partners in tackling any crisis. It’s one of the largest exercises we have, although it’s not the only exercise; most of you will be familiar with other exercises that we run in various domains, including table-top exercises. This is part of NATO’s continuing response to the changed security environment, and of our adaptation to it. And in addition to all the Allies, we have a number of partners taking part, including Finland and Sweden. This will train and demonstrate NATO’s ability to work with two close and important partners.

Finally, as with all NATO exercises, Trident Juncture 18 has been planned in open, transparent and predictable way. You will have seen details about it on our website for some time. We’ve also briefed Russia about it at the recent meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on the 31st of May. And of course, international observers will be invited, as they are to all major Allied exercises; this is through the Vienna Document process. You journalists are also invited; there will be a media day, on the 30th of October, and we are working on creating opportunities for you to attend the exercise throughout.”

Navy Adm. James G. Foggo III, left, commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command based in Naples, Italy, and Norwegian navy Vice Adm. Ketil Olsen, his nation’s military representative to the NATO Military Committee, briefed reporters on the planning for Exercise Trident Juncture 2018 at NATO headquarters in Brussels, June 11, 2018. Foggo also is the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa. | NATO photo

Featured image: British Royal Marines and Portuguese fuzileiros, exit amphibious boats during the NATO Trident Juncture exercise 2015 in Troia, south of Lisbon, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Steven Governo)