NATO opens Trident Juncture exercise to international observers

  • 29 Oct. 2015 -
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  • Last updated: 30 Oct. 2015 19:21

Observers from member nations of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and from other countries around the world have been invited to witness NATO’s biggest military exercise in over a decade, Trident Juncture 2015, which is currently taking place in Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Trident Juncture shows the Alliance’s commitment to transparency and predictability on military activities,” said General Hans-Lothar Domröse, Commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command Brunssum, and of the exercise. “I welcome that several countries chose to send observers to Trident Juncture. This exercise is defensive in nature, the scenario and adversary are fictional.  We hope that by inviting observers we can help to build trust and confidence.

Trident Juncture 15, involving 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations, will certify next year’s NATO Response Force headquarters and the functions of the new very-high readiness Spearhead Force. Under the OSCE Vienna Document 2011, exercises must be notified to OSCE member states 42 days in advance if exceeding 9,000 troops, and observation is required starting at 13,000 troops.  Allies respect these conditions.

Under the Vienna Document 2011, three separate Russian inspection teams arrived this week – one each in Italy, Portugal, and Spain. In each country, the teams were provided with briefings about Trident Juncture 15, and have inspected military activities being carried out as part of this exercise. The inspection in Italy took place between 26 and 28 October, and the inspections in Spain and Portugal are on-going between 27 and 29 October.

Also under Vienna Document 2011 rules, observers from Germany, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States will visit Spain between 1 and 4 November, as this is where the largest concentrations of troops will be during the exercise. This observer programme of military activities was coordinated with Spain and NATO’s Conventional Arms Control Coordination Cell.

In the interest of promoting transparency, NATO has also decided to invite observers from other nations to Trident Juncture 15, including: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.