NATO Allies and partner nations kicked off the Alliance’s Trident Juncture live military exercise on Monday (19 October 2015) during an opening ceremony at the Trapani air force base in Italy, launching three weeks of intensive training involving 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations across Italy, Spain and Portugal.
“Trident Juncture is the largest NATO exercise for over a decade,” said Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow. “Trident Juncture will increase our readiness and our ability to work together, including with our partners. It will demonstrate that NATO is capable of responding to threats from any direction.”
Ambassador Vershbow stressed that the exercise also showed the Alliance’s commitment to transparency and predictability. “We seek confrontation with no one. That is why we have invited observers from around the world, from as far away as Colombia and Russia.”
The Deputy Secretary General was joined by Italian Undersecretary of State for Defence, Gioacchino Alfano and Ambassadors from the North Atlantic Council at the ceremony which included a fly-by of Allied fighter, heavy lift and surveillance aircraft as well as helicopters. The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Gen. Petr Pavel and Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Gen. Denis Mercier also attended.
Trident Juncture will continue until November 6. The exercise will also certify next year’s NATO Response Force headquarters and the functions of the new very-high readiness Spearhead Force.