NATO held manouvres this year in the Balearic Islands.
The Diplomat. Madrid
Our country and Portugal will be the hosts of some manoeuvres that will also have Italy’s aerial support and could gather 20,000 soldiers together. The crisis in Ukraine is relaunching the fight between blocs that prevailed in Europe after the Second World War. On one hand, Russia is increasing its hopes to be on a level with the URSS. On the other hand, the NATO sees the Russian resurgence with concern. After the last summit of Cardiff (Wales), the allies have approved a calendar of joint manoeuvres to stay in shape, standing out Trident Juncture among them.
This exercise will be celebrated in autumn 2015 in waters of the Strait of Gibraltar with Spain and Portugal as hosts and Italy’s aerial support. It will be led by the Transformation Command and it will be an exercise of “high intensity and high visibility” that will allow the allies materializing the initiative of the so called Connected Forces into specific actions, whose objective is for the NATO troops to stay prepared to react in the case of crisis after the end of the operations in Afghanistan at the end of the year.
The exercise will put the abilities of the Nato Response Force (NRF) into practice facing 2016, when Spain will be responsible for the land component command. Besides, it could serve as the trial base for the new force of fast intervention described in the summit of Wales as Trident Juncture of the NATO, a force made up of 5,000 soldiers able to deploy in 48 hours to deal with situations of crisis in the East and the South of the Alliance.
Trident Juncture will be settled in a scene adapted to the new threats, such as cyber defence, incorporating the lessons learned in two decades of operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo and other places. The land command will be joined by aerial, sea and especial forces, as well as by intelligence, surveillance and recognition elements.
In all, more than 20,000 allied soldiers could participate, a number that can still vary depending on the contributions made by the countries, according to the Ministry of Defence. In any case, this will be the biggest exercise carried out by the NATO since the end of the Cold War.