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Trapani, ITALY – The opening ceremonies of the largest Alliance exercise since 2002, Trident Juncture 2015, was held at the Italian Airbase in Trapani, on Monday, 19 October 2015.
NATO Allies have committed more than 60 ships, 140 aircraft and over 36,000 personnel to the three-week joint live exercise (LIVEX) in Italy, Portugal and Spain. The scenario has been designed to test NATO’s readiness and adaptability. Nine partner nations and 12 NGOs/IOs will participate.
“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.”
The exercise will be conducted at 16 land-based locations, as well as the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It will provide a test bed for the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) – a concept agreed to at the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales that is now being established as a military capability. 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 nearby as Russia”, he said.
The Deputy Secretary General was joined by the 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 fighters, heavy lift and surveillance aircraft as well as helicopters. The Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Denis Mercier and the officer conducting the exercise, General Hans-Lothar Domröse, Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum were also in attendance.
L. J. De Rothschild