NATO’s Steadfast Jazz exercise gets underway
The Alliance’s largest exercise since 2006, “Steadfast Jazz” kicked off Saturday (2 November) across Europe, including the Baltic states and Poland. The exercise will involve around 6,000 troops and will run for a week. “The purpose of this exercise is to make sure that our rapid-reaction force, the NATO Response Force (NRF), is ready to defend any Ally, deploy anywhere and deal with any threat,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
“Steadfast Jazz” involves air, land, maritime and special forces components. The exercise also involves military headquarters staff from NATO’s Joint Force Command Brunssum, which will have to be certified to lead the NATO Response Force next year . All 28 NATO Allies, as well as Finland, Sweden and Ukraine are taking part in the exercise. Around 3,000 of the troops involved will participate in live exercise training and 3,000 headquarters personnel will be involved in a command and control drill.
“Steadfast Jazz” is part of a series of dynamic and demanding exercises that have been organised this year for the NRF. As the operational tempo is expected to decrease after the combat mission in Afghanistan is completed at the end of 2014, NATO will step up training to maintain readiness and interoperability. The Alliance has ambitious goals to increase training activities. These include more ambitious and frequent exercises, a broader range of scenarios and a comprehensive training plan to cover the full range of Alliance missions. NATO Defence Ministers at their meeting on 22 October, agreed to move forward on plans for a broader concept for training and exercises up to 2020 as part of the Connected Forces Initiative. “Steadfast Jazz” will run from 2 to 9 November 2013.