Press briefing on NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2015

by the NATO Spokesperson together with the Commander of JFC Brunssum and the Chief of Staff of Allied Command Transformation

  • 15 Jul. 2015
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  • Last updated: 16 Jul. 2015 12:11

Joint press point with Lieutenant General Phil Jones, Chief of Staff Allied Command Transformation; NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu and General Hans-Lothar Domrose, Commander JFC Brunssum

Good afternoon, thank you for coming, I know this is a day of many briefings across the road, so we are appreciating you here.

This is a briefing about Trident Juncture 2015. We thought it's a good opportunity to start early to brief you on an important exercise that will take place this autumn.

In fact it will be NATO's biggest exercise in over a decade. And we have two senior military officials to provide more details and to answer any questions. And they are happy to go into detail on the name, the scenario, the locations, the participations and the reach of the exercise.

So we have with us today Lieutenant General Phil Jones, who is the Chief of Staff of Supreme Allied Command Transformation, which is of course the NATO command organising this exercise. And he's come all the way from Norfolk, Virginia in the US.

General Hans-Lothar Domröse, Commander of Joint Force Command Brunssum, who will be the commanding officer for Trident Juncture. And he's come all the way from the Netherlands.

But before I give the two gentlemen the floor, let me just give you some of the basics.

Trident Juncture 15 will take place in October and November, mainly in Spain, Italy and Portugal.

It's 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.

Of course, this exercise takes on additional significance because of the changed security environment, that we find ourselves in, the rising challenges from both the south and the east, to which NATO is adapting, and continues to adapt.

Overall we expect over 36,000 troops from 30 nations to take part – that includes NATO Allies as well as seven partner nations. And those partner nations are Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Sweden and Ukraine.

The exercise will also demonstrate NATO's ability to work with international organizations to deal with a crisis. Which is what we call the comprehensive approach.

And we have confirmed participation from the European Union, the African Union and international humanitarian organisations.

I said at the start that it's the biggest, the most ambitious exercise that NATO has undertaken since over a decade. In fact, before you ask let me tell you that the previous biggest exercise took place in 2002. And that was the exercise preparing the NATO Response Force. It was exercise Strong Resolve which took place in Norway and Poland with over 40,000 troops from, at that time, 15 Allies ad 12 partner nations.

Finally, as all NATO exercises, Trident Juncture 15 has been planned in an open, transparent, predictable way. You would have seen it on our website for some time. It was announced over a year ago by the Secretary General, and of course international observers from all OSCE countries and several non-OSCE countries will be invited.

You journalists of course are also invited as to all NATO exercises – and that's why we're holding this briefing.

My colleagues after the briefing will be happy to give you more details, should you need them now and of course to register an interest in taking part in the media days.

One last important point – if you want to tweet about this briefing, or indeed about the exercise, the hashtag is #TJ15, rather predictable, and of course #NATO.

With this, let me pass the floor first to Lieutenant General Jones.

GENERAL PHIL JONES (Chief of Staff Allied Command Transformation on NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2015): Oana, thanks very much indeed. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's a great honour to be here on behalf of my boss, the Supreme Allied Command for Transformation. General Paloméros would dearly like to be here himself and sends his apologies.

The Allied Command for Transformation is one of NATO's two military strategic headquarters. And, as you just heard, we are the only NATO headquarters based in North America.

Our role in NATO is to lead the continual transformation of NATO's forces from far distant concepts right the way through to the reality of readiness capacity in military effectiveness.

And a key role for us as a headquarters in this transformation continuum if you like is to shape and prepare our forces through ambitious realistic training and exercises.

And in that respect we feel immense pride in this exercise Trident Juncture 15 that marks for NATO a really important milestone in the transformation and adaptation of our Alliance forces.

It's been deliberately planned as you've just heard to be a keystone event for NATO as we shift our focus from over a decade of really intensity counterinsurgency; to start to recalibrate our posture for the current security environment.

The exercise is of strategic importance to NATO. And it's been one of our highest planning priorities for the past two years. It's worth noting that the current scope and scale of this exercise has exceeded the original planning assumptions by some margin. And the energetic commitment of our nations to this exercise has been exciting to observe.

From our perspective, it's a very clear demonstration of the solidarity of the Alliance and our collective determination to ensure the peace and security of the Euro-Atlantic region.

And for Alliance military forces, it's also an affirmation of our capability and capacity to evolve rapidly and to respond to the changing environment that we find in the world around us.

This exercise is a focal point for testing, validating, experimenting, developing and training our joint forces at the scale, scope and level of complexity that our current and future security challenges demand.

In Trident Juncture 2015, we'll be using new and evolving concepts, advanced technology, cutting-edge military capabilities and the world's most modern land, sea and air forces in the most complex and realistic scenarios.

As you've heard, 27 of the 28 nations will be providing military units and staff for the exercise together with units from seven partner nations. And we have soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines and civilians totaling now in excess of 36,000.

Right at the centre of this exercise, as you'll hear from General Domröse in a moment, we'll train and evaluate and certify our reformed and enhanced NATO Response Forces.

So this exercise is set in a fictitious geographical region known as SOROTON. This is a scenario that's been developing over recent years as a highly realistic vehicle for training and developing NATO and partner forces in a wide range of complex crisis settings. It capitalizes of course on the lessons from the past 20 years of NATO-led operations, including of course the Afghan campaign. But really importantly, it's a modern vehicle in which to reflect the highly complex security challenges of today and to allow us to experiment for the future.

This fictitious but realistic setting sees a crisis unfold beyond NATO's borders in a fictional country which is victim of internal tensions, natural hazards and a neighbor's aggression. This out-of-area setting in NATO terms has been designed to allow enough scope, depth and flexibility to really challenge our forces in the pursuit of an ambitious strategic and operational civilian and military campaign.

Events within the exercise will range from the effects of subversion and terrorism to grand military maneuver on a large scale from the conditions of chemical warfare to the battlegrounds of cyber and information, from the intricacies of tribal rivalries to the challenges of unpredictable and autocratic political leaders.

The integration of non... nine NATO forces into Trident Juncture 15 provided by partner nations is of huge mutual benefit. NATO partners have vast experience and considerable expertise. And our cooperative approach to shared security has been further developed in this exercise.

The participation of a wide range of international organizations, NGOs and agencies has become standard in NATO's training and exercising philosophy. The ability for us all to act together, to understand each other's perspectives to communicate and interact is a key element of any crisis response. There's no such thing as a purely military solution. And the presence of non-NATO military observers is part of the Alliance's commitment to transparency and openness in every respect.

And for the first time, we've also invited a large number of defence industries to take part in the exercise and to observe evolutions, with the aim of generating exchanges and to bring insights and perspectives to possible technological solutions for the future and to accelerate military innovation.

Finally, before I hand over to General Domröse, let me just offer a vote of thanks to the host nations: Italy, Portugal and Spain. Those nations have gone to great lengths to accommodate the general requirements of the troop-contributing nations and to adapt their exercise ranges and training facilities to host logistical support of the deployed elements.

The bulk of the live training area will cover a huge part of the South-West of Europe offering ample space to conduct safely the complex and demanding air-land-maritime training events of such a large military force.

This exercise, as you've heard, is open to media. And we very much look forward to see you all at the many major events throughout the period.

So the Allied Command for Transformation is the architect of NATO's collective training strategy. It is very proud to be part of this public launch. And I'll now hand over to General Domröse who is one of NATO's most experienced and most respected commanders. And he's exactly the right leader for this exercise of strategic importance. Thank you very much.

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE (Commander JFC Brunssum): Thank you Phil, thank Oana for your kind words. Really I welcome this opportunity to talk a little bit about Trident Juncture.

And I'm honored and privileged that my headquarters has been selected to conduct this exercise. So as was said already, I'm the officer conducting the exercise. So we have theories and we have reality. And I have to implement theories into reality. And that is the role and responsibility for an officer conducting the exercise.

This exercise has more or less three purposes. First, I'm the designated NATO Response Force Commander for 16, next year; and as you would have expected, these forces coming from nations as you heard Allies and Partners have to be trained properly in order to be ready on the 1st of January. So it's timely a preparation phase.

Secondly, we will have to implement the way... summit's findings. And let me recall that our heads of States and Government decided to form the NRF, the fire brigade of NATO more agile, bigger and more flexible. And we will do some test-bed functions in Spain, Italy and Portugal. So this is the second part of the training in the end.

And thirdly, as was indicated already, we have to acknowledge that military is only one tool in the toolbox. There are always other actors, very important actors. So I'm extremely proud that we have so many IOs and NGOs participating in this exercise.

And the difference between all the other exercises was that they are participating in the exercise from the very beginning. So they are part of the scripting. It is not wild ideas that we have. We take reality from their experience directly into that scenario. And that is the beauty of the comprehensive approach if you will. And that is the beauty of working in a group of agile and cohesive members of the Alliance. And virtually it is the whole world participating from partners and Allies from all continents as was mentioned before.

So it will be a very ambitious exercise. Oana thought it might be the biggest exercise. But what I'm focusing more is technique, tactics and to improve procedures and try to make the operational forces (that's what I'm talking about) more capable.

So it is not the numbers, it is the quality that matters, I hope. So the VJTF is one of those elements of our test bed. Whereby we want to demonstrate how quickly we can employ this brigade-size unit of five thousand, move from one edge to the other edge obviously in the given area. And that is fantastic also.

We do include... we invite international observers. I should have said. And I'm really proud. There is no secret. We do this exercise. There's a secret: what decisions I will take. But the rest is transparent. And my decisions doing the exercise movement, transparent ones, I've taken those.

So Russia and all the others who are interested following all the treatments will be invited. That is for sure. If I may, it's a great honour. And you can trust us. So in the end, we have invested significantly into the scenario, in planning and conducting a series of similar exercises to lead up to Trident Juncture 15; in order to improve our skills and capabilities.

And you have heard the connected forces initiatives. It's not so easy that so many nations...forces from so many nations work together. So obviously, you all have a smartphone. We have a smartphone also what we call it CIS. So it is our communication system. And we can communicate each other. And that is fine.

So we have to work together, learn each other better to understand. And in the end, I have to report to our Supreme Allied Commander, the NRF, the fire brigade for NATO stands ready; is prepared; is exercised and useable for 16. So it's a great honour. But it is also a stress.

The IOs and NGOs let me stress the importance of EU as we sit here almost in the EU Parliament. The EU has everything, almost everything that is required these days if you want to calm down a crisis situation. They have experts. They have lawyers. And I was told the EU is rich there, even with money.

But NATO has this unique capability of bringing military power to the added value: so military and the non-military actors working together, trying to win the peace. And let me repeat this, I am always aiming at winning peace. To fight a battle, trust me we can do this 24/7 almost everyone. But to win the peace is key and we want to demonstrate how we can stabilize in a given scenario, situation and how we can help the poor people in order to have a better life tomorrow. And that is what I would call "winning peace". And this is only possible... and we know it by heart... it's only possible with international organizations and big organizations like the Red Cross, humanitarian assistance, and the EU as a real powerbroker. So we are delighted to put these forces together.

In the end, the intended outcome will be yes, when you come and visit us, you hopefully will see NATO is capable; NATO is agile; and NATO is prepared for any challenge. And we are ready to go if required and politically mandated. Thank you very much indeed.

OANA LUNGESCU (NATO Spokesperson): Thank you very much indeed. Now, we'll open the floor to your questions. Please state your name and your outlet and who the question is for. We'll go over to Kai.

Q: Kai Kűster, ARD German Radio. You kind of rushed through a little bit the possible challenges or threats you could address in this exercise: terrorism, autocratic State leaders. Can you be a bit more specific? And also tell us if hybrid warfare is going to be one of the challenges you want to address. And one further question if I may, you mentioned the NGOs. Can you already give us some names of NGOs that will be present?

GENERAL PHIL JONES: So, of course, you'll forgive us if some aspects of what will be played out in the exercise are not completely in the public domain right now; because there has to be an element of training and exercise and everything else. Some of that is a departure into the unknown for the troops taking part.

But the exercise will reflect the world as we see it today and the conditions that we can see in the near future. And on the scope and scale and complexity that we're looking at here, the scenarios being built over the years as I said is to include almost every single evolution you can imagine out there and from that evolution over the past year and half or so, sort of story lines have been developed; challenges directly related to how we want the troops to be exercised and tested and evaluated in the current conditions.

So you're right. I touched a couple of things: terrorism, subversion, that sort of thing, instability in a brewing crisis. And of course, that's shorthand for a whole range of things. That will obviously escalate requiring the application of 36,000 plus troops. I mentioned the fact that we'll looking at testing and evaluating new concepts, new methods of operation around cyber, missile defence, interconnected communication networks that General Domröse has referred to and so on and so forth.

So there will be a huge wide spectrum of challenges for the troops at every level, not just in terms of military and NATO; but also in terms of how you nuance the security presence with other security actors and the civil domain and sovereign governments; their requirements and everything else.

Hybridity, yes. I mean, we run something like 200 exercises a year in NATO right now at various different levels. And this sense of hybridity and ambiguity, and this sense of crises evolving out of instability is present in our training right now.

This isn't something that necessarily particularly novel in that sense. How we deal with it in the current context is something that we're very much focusing on. And of course that speaks very much to some of the thoughts that General Domröse was outlining around interaction with the EU and civil actors and everything else.

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: If I may add, thank you Philip. Terrorism for example, there are mines. We call it IED, explosives planted somewhere on the road, in a village. They threaten the population. We know it. Now, the question is: Who plants those bloody mines? Who is responsible? So we are trying to get into the network. It is not the man, the poor man who plants it. It is somebody with a white collar who dictates you go and plant... So in other words we play this. And the key to terrorism is obviously intel-driven operation. And we've got to learn intel-driven operations.

So you do not simply fight against something. You have to have a plan. And if you want to fight a network you're better do it within a network. So that is modern warfare. It is not tank moving to a tank. That is easy. As I said, we can do this 24/7 everywhere. That's easy.

More complicated is network operations, intel-driven operations. And for example, very easy to understand, if you want to have intel-driven operations you need highly sophisticated modern equipment. So in other words, if you don't see anything, you are blind. And that is complicated.

But if you have something in the air, you see something. You look to the horizon and you see everything. Then you can distinguish between the good man and the bad man. And nobody talked about soft, my friends, special operations. There are always very skilled, very agile young men and women. And they have ears on the ground. They hear a lot. So that is a sensor if you will.

It is not only flying material. It is sensors... human sensors. They live in the country. They live within the villages. They know what's going on. And they know that is a good man. This man … person, I'm not sure. But this is a dark man. So intel-driven operations, hybrid warfare, cyber was mentioned yes. But also may I take your wonderful invitation to #TJ50. Yes, we will also play media obviously. We will play social engagements, social media hashtag. And we will challenge our staff by propaganda. So what is true and what is not true? Pictures manipulated. So where is the truth? So we will have to follow hashtag things, media, television and others. And then, in the end, the staff will very much challenge and try to find out what is right what is wrong and how we can react. Certainly, we will not use propaganda; we will always tell the truth.

And other things, NGOs, I must apologize. We have more than a dozen NGOs. There are a few amongst them who said: "We are eager to participate; but please do not mention my name". I respect this. So if an NGO... if you come and visit us... is there. And he wants to say: "Yes, I'm from German Deutsch Altercroits(?)", it's his business. But it's not my call to say. I stick to my bigger friends like the EU, like the ICRC, Human Rights, US-AID. The smaller ones they want to announce it themselves. And I very much appreciate it. Thank you.

OANA LUNGESCU: OK, I've got about four questions. I've got Brooks, Julian, Daniel Young, OK. So we'll start with Brooks.

Q: Thanks, yes, Brooks Tigner, Jane's Defence. One of the key Wales tasks was to make the NRF more flexible, particularly faster to deploy. I'm just wondering, leaving aside the exercise itself, will you be tracking how quickly the Allies can get to the Trident theatre itself? Because that would offer some interesting metrics about what they're able... how quickly they're able to deploy. And within the exercise itself, will these be specifically challenging the players' ability to deploy from a non-readiness status? On certain things, let's say...

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: Thank you, you mentioned the NRF. That is the past and the future we talk about: the VJTF - it's a new name. But it is a change in quality.

Now, I think it is kind of an open secret that the VJTF should be available within a few days. So let us assume that a few days is less than a week. So then technically we will always have something that says go, then the scouts go, then the bulk of the forces and the other forces. So within a few days, fine. That is fast. That is fast. And one shouldn't... I'm talking about the land-heavy brigade element. I'm not talking about aircraft. I'm travelling a lot within my area, in Europe. And I can tell you from Brussels it's always two hours. So we should never underestimate the power and speed of air power. So we have always aircraft available, always. We have designated aircraft in the Baltic arena and otherwise we call it air policing.

They are there 24/7, 365 days. Then we have national assets available. And then we have the NRF portion available. And they can fly within hours. Now, the real thing is twofold: First, our political leadership will have to take a decision within a few days. Without a political decision, I will not march. Second, we can only get a political decision if we have indications and warnings. No indication and warning, no movement.

So assuming that we have indication and warnings, then the Supreme Allied Commander General Philip Breedlove will go to the NAC our political body; will seek advice. Or he will say: "This is serious. I want you to set free the VJTF". Then they say yes or no. Very simple. And the SecGen says yes with the team of course. And it goes within a few days. Then they are deployed. And we can do. If that was your question?

Q: My question was: are you going to track how quickly the Allies can get their assets to the Trident (? Inaudible) … to the battlefield? Just to measure what the metrics are.

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: No, we don't this... Nations deploy on their national plans. But we did test-bedding. I know exactly that a transport ship from Lisbon to Lithuania fully loaded takes four days: to load it, to sail it, to unload it if you want it on ship. But there are bigger ships, travelling faster so...

GENERAL PHIL JONES: So let me just comment on that. We got a couple of the young architects of the NATO exercise regime sitting at the back of the room. Chris Hahn (?), back there, who I'll name check, is our young US Navy aviator who runs an awful lot of the architecture for these exercises. As I've said, we run about 200 of these. This happens to be a pretty big one. It's been long-planned to be a pretty big one and we'll do pretty big ones periodically. There are other big ones.

And so that sense of readiness and evaluation is something we do month-in month-out with various components. That sense of the completeness of the staff, their training readiness to be ready for what they do, training standards and everything else, their deployability, that training regime has a logic to it that runs throughout the year. It has a rhythm to it that runs every couple of years, that attends to all of those questions of testing out the deployability; making sure the nations have put the right bits and pieces in place for their forces; making sure the staff and the communications and everything else plugs together and every single dimension of that.

We have test and evaluation of experimentation throughout the day. And at the end of that sort process, or periodically during the process, you have sort of semi-formal evaluations where senior commanders such as Domröse can stand there with a sense of science and art together to say this military force can do what it wants to do. Now, it's not a driving component of this exercise, this particular exercise, to drive those metrics. But we have those in other dimensions.

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: I should say I can assure you that this Spanish-led VJTF for my team in 16 will be tested on deployability. I can't tell you the date; because my Spanish then would prepare. So be assured, they will be tested. And they will move within Europe. But apart from this exercise. This is a special focus ... is on deployability.

OANA LUNGESCU: For... I'm sure everybody knows what the VJTF is... the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force; but just in case... also known as the Spearhead Force.

We'll go to the... Julian in the third row. Then, we'll take Jan and John. And I know there are... And Daniel in the back.

Q: Thanks, Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal. Why invite the Russians as observers? And is there a risk of... if there are weaknesses in the Response Force that you'll be showcasing them to the Russians?

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: Yes, thank you, a very simple answer. It would be that we are members of these treaties. So we have open skies. We have exercise limitations. Or we say, if a certain number of participants is exceeded, we announce it. It is like our DNA. It is the treaty regime and we follow this regime. And I have no problem with it.

Secondly, they will watch us anyhow invited or not. We are talking about a modern nation. You accept it or not, they have satellites also. So it's not so that Russia doesn't see anything. So they are according to the regimes we all signed. And we are loyal to our treaties. We fulfil our treaties. They can come. And they will listen, uninvited, I don't know.

I was just recently with my Maritime Forces on HMS Ocean in the Baltic Sea. And guess who flew over our bridge? A Russian aircraft, it's open sky. They can do. And they accompanied us with their ships. That's fine. That's easy for us. And with regards to whether they see the difference between good or better I'll leave it up to them. But they will be hopefully impressed.

GENERAL PHIL JONES: Of course, we have the absolute humility to acknowledge the fact that observers will observe weaknesses; but let's not also lose the sense that this has been a great demonstration of Alliance solidarity. And the fact this exercise has grown somewhat exponentially in the wake of the annexation of Crimea and the proxy war in Ukraine and the like is testament to the nation's sense of really wanting to make sure that this is assurance and deterrence in action. This happens to be an out-of-area exercise, not Article 5 collective defence exercise. But we're very proud of the fact that the nations havel come together at some strength and some magnitude with the cutting-edge capabilities to demonstrate the sense of resolve in the face of multiple security challenges. So that's a demonstration to anyone who happens to be there is something that we warmly welcome.

OANA LUNGESCU: Let me just add that of course our Member States are parties to the Vienna document, the OSCE document. And as such, there's a requirement to notify exercises that go above a certain threshold within a certain amount of days and to invite observers from all the 56 OSCE member States. And that is exactly what we are doing; because what we do is defensive. It's transparent. And it is in line with our international obligations. Daniel, just behind, the fourth row.

Q: Daniel Brȍssler, Süddeutsche Zeitung. The fact that this exercise is taking place in Southern Europe is that a hint that this is not only about the threat from the East, from Russia? Or does geography does it not play a role here at all and doesn't play a role where it takes place? And of course, is it a hint that it's turning to the threat from this house as well?

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: Yes, thank you for your interesting question. We know that we have two threats: the so-called Eastern threat and the Southern threat. But this exercise is a non-Article 5 exercise. As General Jones pointed out, it is an artificial fictive scenario taking place in SOROTAN which is a kind of parts of Africa.

So it has nothing to do with the Eastern threat; but in a threat scenario there are different actors, terrorists. There are ordinary forces. There are Special Forces. There are air forces. There are nations. There are NGOs. There are IOs, parliament and so on. It is a kind of real world playing in south Africa. Certainly, it acknowledges that we have to be prepared, the NRF in particular, prepared to be agile and able to respond to any threat... so any means, in this case, a Southern threat or an Eastern threat. And we have to train both. So in this regard, you can say: "Yes, we are also concentrating from time to time our efforts to counter a Southern threat."

OANA LUNGESCU: Yes, and of course, as the General said: Both the NATO Response Force and the Spearhead Force which is the core of it have to be ready to deploy, to deal with threats from any direction whether from the East or from the South. And that's exactly what they are doing. And that's what they're training for. John... please... You've got the microphone.

Q: I do. Thank you, John-Thor Dahlburg from the Associated Press. Let's see. General Jones, you talked about this exercise being upgraded somewhat exponentially since the Crimea crisis. I wonder if you could tell us how it's been.... you or General Domröse... could you tell us how it's been changed or modified to deal with the new challenges that have surfaced to NATO since the Ukraine crisis and also since the Islamic State has surfaced on the radar.

I also want to ask for some more details about what is different in this exercise from the last major exercise that took place in Norway in 2002. I understand you'll be dealing with IEDs, a dictator's propaganda on the Internet. Can you sum up some of the other... can you explain some of the other novelties? And a couple of... finally... simple questions. Can you explain what Trident Juncture means? I'm also not sure if I understood the name of this fictitious country... Is it NATO spelled backwards? SO...SO...SO...OTAN...

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: SOROTAN... OTAN is the French name for NATO.

Q: Right, that's what I understood.

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: O and OTAN.

Q: Is ZO and then NATO? ZO and then OTAN? And I think that my final question is for Oana. Many of my bureaus and I'm sure those of my colleagues in Spain and Portugal and Italy are very interested in this exercise and are pressing me for details. When will we know for example what sort of TV access we have, what sort of access photographers will have and so forth? Thank you.

GENERAL PHIL JONES: I'll pick up a couple of those and then pass them over. Let's start... We, military, we were talking about this just before we came in here and sometimes we trip over ourselves with our exercise names and our naming conventions .... and our nations sometimes do it differently. The Trident Juncture is a standing exercise naming convention for NATO for a series of exercises which at the top level NRF certification exercises. It really has very little rationale other than the T comes from our exercise leadership of transformation and J is joint … [? Inaudible). We were discussing beforehand, and there are pros and cons of trying to name our exercise more effectively for the information domain that we live in. We've gone into great lengths to sanitize in many respects such that they don't apply to anything. So and there are other naming conventions out there and everything else. If Oana has her way, we'll change our approach for exercise names; because we trip over ourselves.

So what has changed since Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East around DAESH, ISIS, ISIL? So this exercise was part of NATO's building block for the post-Afghanistan recalibration. It is part of our planning for some time ago. So the framework, the architecture has been in place for some time. It predates... predates the annexation of Crimea. And it predates the current evolutions in Iraq and Syria. But of course, the team of people, of experts who work and develop and nurture this, the challenge for us is to make sure that we, as a military, we're never fighting the last war whether the last war was ten years ago or ten minutes ago.

So in turning to the exercise this scenario has been continually refreshed and updated. And the challenge to keep pace to the sort of demands that people like General Domröse want to play on the training system are huge these days to make sure it's relevant to the information domain and the social media, political domain and things like that. There's a lot going on that.

What's new from 2002...? I'm afraid I was in Kabul in 2002 so I would have to defer to others.

Q: So it's ... (inaudible) in 2002 (inaudible)...

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: Let me focus on the three elements only that are of particular interest to me. First, distance... It's a huge training area from Portugal to Italy and the seas in between, Mediterranean and the Atlantic. I don't say where the Atlantic stops. So obviously Atlantic. So that is distance … is new since then. And all the other ones... you know, in a training area. This is really huge for a European ... for Americans it's nice. But for us it's huge the area.

Secondly, we will focus on speed. So the question of deployability is a separate issue. And you can trust me it will come. But speed matters, I'm convinced... Speed matters. So we will have speed. And you will see it in the air, at sea and on land.

And the third thing is multiple events... multiple events in this huge training area happens simultaneously. So it is not one thing after the other next day... next day victory and then... It is a rolling thing that every now and then everything pops up. So it is real world.

And we have taken... we have transformed some recent examples that will now happen in SOROTAN. So we will see that airports are heavily fought for, the ones who want to defend an airport... or the ones who want to take it.

And we noticed that artillery has a certain role to play in certain areas. But we play it now in SOROTAN. I mentioned the IED threat and others such as propaganda.

And let me also highlight four brigades... fully blown-up brigades, marine corps coming in and out, amphibious operations, not only one, several amphibious operations together which is a real challenge for an operational commander because you have now the maritime forces, the land forces coming from the ships taking ownership on land, the land forces then the air cover. If you don't have air cover amphibious operation will fail. So this is a very complex scenario. We have this simultaneously in some areas.

We will also test and train how to gain air superiority. Since Afghanistan and Bosnia, we think we have air superiority. We are very proud. Yes, we have. But I challenge them in areas where they have not granted air superiority, where they have to fight for air superiority, how to gain it. The same is true for freedom of navigation. We'll have an area where there will be a fight for freedom of navigation, where the control of the sea is not given. And then we'll see how our maritime forces will get it hopefully. If they don't, then they are not good enough. So a new challenge is complex, very fast and it will be really challenging. But in the end, I'm convinced that our commanders are agile, forward leading. And they will have good ideas to win to set the conditions militarily for the peaceful development. And that is what we're aiming at.

OANA LUNGESCU: OK, let me just spell out SOROTAN for you. And it's SOROTAN. So this is a fictional... a fictitious scenario which actually predates this exercise. So SOROTAN I suppose you can turn also... So that's the first... the first question.

Q: ... NATO?

OANA LUNGESCU: Totally fictitious! Second question. And our good colleague Martin Klein who is in the front row, who you will see a lots more of him, I'm sure, if you cover this exercise, is the Chief Public Affairs Officer for Brunssum. He will release a detailed news release immediately at the end of this briefing to which, of course, we will link to... on our website. But I can already give you a sneak preview, if I may, Martin? So I can tell you that there will be... we expect we'll have three distinguished visitors days, in Trapani, Italy and Zaragoza in Spain and in Troia, in Portugal. Obviously, details will be finalized as we come closer to the date.

But the main thing that I think you need to know is that there will be a NATO Exercise Media Information Centre which will be established in Zaragoza in Spain from the 29th of September until the 8th of November this year. So we're going to be there for quite some time. And of course, you'll have in this press release all the details about accreditation, the documents you need. And then, obviously, as we come closer to the date, we will provide more information.

OK, I had Jan waiting patiently.

Q: Thank you, Jan Kordys from Agence Europe. Two small questions: one on cyber defence. Are you going to test the cyber offensive capabilities of the Alliance? The second question on AGS, since the first global hawk is already built, are you going to use the AGS system? And the last question I wonder what... Why did you choose an out-of-area non-Article 5 scenario since the Readiness Action Plan is all about to shape the NATO posture to answer threats on its territory, for example the VJTF concept was created to move quickly air force inside Europe? That's the reason to create the next … {? Inaudible], to have the predisposition of equipment. It's not an old way expeditionary force normally. Thank you.

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: Let me start. We try hard to do this. Cyber offensive, no. We will strictly defend... I have no authority to go offensive. But when you leave this room you will discover your smartphone is empty. Then it was me. (LAUGHTER)

OK, but I won't do this so... so... Just a joke! We will use global hawk. And we will use modern equipment if available. It is up to the nations to provide this for the exercise. But I'm very optimistic that bigger nations will provide this tool timely, not the six weeks Oana mentioned, but from time to time when required, when we do, let's say, complicated operations, complex operations. We will have support from kind of global hawk, whatever they are called. Different nations have different assets. But we will have those elements.

Now, the VJTF and Article 5, that is the thing I couldn't read this honestly. The NRF we're talking about, enhanced NRF … you mentioned the NRF... and I mentioned VJTF... There's a whole bunch of rewording. It is more agile. It is quicker, faster and more capable. But it is designed to counter any threat to NATO or to Allied members. So it is, as I said, for our political masters extremely difficult to keep the crowd together for the Eastern and the Southern threat. So no one has written as far as I am concerned... then I have to apologize... I have not seen anything that says the VJTF is exclusively for the Eastern threat. It may very well be better suited for the Eastern threat. Because here w are talking about tanks, aircrafts and ships, cyber and green men, more traditional threat; whereas in the South we're talking about terrorists and other things. So you would not necessarily need a tank battalion. But helicopters for example you need in both scenarios or infantry to protect people in both scenarios. So I would not exclude the NRF as such then tailored according to indication warnings... tailored to that mission. But we have to prepare it for both possible missions.

OANA LUNGESCU: May I just remind you, Jan, that the NATO Response Force has already been deployed in crisis management operations for instance to help out with Hurricane Katrina, the Pakistan earthquake, indeed the Greek Olympics. So there's been a wide range of situations in which the NRF has already been deployed. Therefore, it remains ready to deploy to deal with any type of contingency. Gérard?

Q: Yes, Gérard Gaudin, Belgium News Agency. I have a very basic question. Is Trident Juncture going to be something else than a certification exercise for the NRF 16? Or are you going to introduce new things?

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: Thank you very much for this question. I should not say this publicly; but the NRF force is not as strong as the exercise force. So obviously the exercise is attractive for nations. You heard the numbers of nations, Allied 27, seven partners and so on, and IOs. So this is an opportunity for Member States and others, for friends in the broader sense to come together; train together and foster and develop and deepen interoperability. So it is the core force I am responsible for to train and make it agile and ready and prepare is the NRF which is only a part... luckily there are so many others who wanted to participate. And you could say this. Nations participate without being member of NRF; because they will get something they can't get at home. They get more for the bang.

For example, if you send a company from Lithuania which is expensive training cost, to Spain in this case in our scenarios, together with all the other nations, you will never have the opportunity to train with so many Allies and partners together. And this is quite something. So it is a kind of pool where you plug in, where you'll never have this again... never again.

And that's why it is attractive. It is also kind of worthwhile because we are spending our money... we are trying to spend our money smart, not to waste money. And here you have air, maritime and land forces, Special Forces together in a certain timeframe, in a certain arena that is simply beautiful. You can't get it at home.

Q: Hello, my name is Mark from Associated Press Television. The Mediterranean has been filled for the last two years with ships full of migrants fleeing war-torn countries that obviously are not going to receive, you know, public media campaign warning that this is happening. What are you doing to make sure that they don't all of sudden sail into a live exercise on the Mediterranean?

GENERAL HANS-LOTHAR DOMRÖSE: There's one of the easier parts. We will ensure this. The other question what is behind this so that we can ensure that those two entities will not interfere each other? But what comes.... what do I do when we come across a humanitarian crisis at sea, the simple answer is: "We will with this very ship, who comes across this disaster, they will stop the exercise, will help." We'll give you humanitarian help. We'll sail those people wherever to... We'll save lives and then return to the exercise in strong coordination with the nation; because I do not own the ship. I do not own anything except this pencil. But the nations own ships. So if there is a humanitarian crisis on the water, in the vicinity of a German frigate I will call the Germans: "Could we do this? And they will say: "Yes, we'd love to do this". And other nations... So I assume that is not the problem. We have more than 60 ships. But we have a training purpose. And the humanitarian crisis is being well-taken care by the EU if I read the newspapers correctly. So we will not let somebody die if we could help, very clear.

OANA LUNGESCU: There is of course an international obligation for all captains of all ships whether they are part under EU or NATO or national flag. And that would take over … basically, in coordination with the respective nation and with the exercise commander.

I think we've exhausted all your questions. Thank you very much. You'll have everything on the website. And of course, we look forward to seeing you this autumn for Trident Juncture 2015. Many thanks.