As part of NATO’s efforts to reset and reinvigorate its training and exercise planning, the Alliance plans to orchestrate and carry out one large-scale exercise like Trident Juncture approximately every three years, NATO Allied Command Transformation boss French Air Force Gen. Jean-Paul Palomeros told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 27. This is an ambitious plan, but it gives ACT time to prepare, plan, and evaluate these events, he added. The next large-scale event now in planning is set to take place in Norway, the Baltic States, and in the North Sea, said Palomeros. It will involve an Article V collective defense scenario, which will be very “demanding,” he added. The next large-scale exercise will also feature events that will test the readiness of the National Response Force and the Very High Readiness Joint Task. In addition to NATO allies, several partner nations also are involved in planning the event, such as Sweden and Finland. In the meantime, thanks to new policies and initiatives refining training and exercising, NATO will conduct approximately six “strategic exercises” a year that will help test and evaluate the new headquarters and command and control nodes put in place to manage crisis response and high intensity operations, said Palomeros. These drills are essential in order to make NATO forces responsive and relevant to current threats, as they change and evolve with time.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.