Collective Defense and Transparency

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sought to contrast Russia’s expanded snap military exercises with the Alliance’s re-commitment to collective defense activities, noting it is “striving to create transparency” in its expanded exercising. The Alliance’s largest exercise in 20 years, Exercise Trident Juncture 2015, will take place in Italy, Portugal, and Spain this fall, he said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. However, he also noted, this effort is not a snap exercise and was announced over a year ago. International observers will have access, including Russian observers, and schedules will be released via NATO’s website “because we have nothing to hide.” The exercise is part of NATO’s effort to stand up its new NATO Response Force and Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. A series of events is? ongoing across the Alliance to build response capacity, and to establish command and control units on the eastern periphery of NATO to “make it easier for forces to exercise, deploy, and reinforce,” Stoltenberg said. The upcoming Warsaw Summit, planned for 2016, will serve as an important milestone to both plot the next phase of NATO’s collective defense activities, and to check and make sure implementation is following on to the pledges of the Alliance’s members, he added.