Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, together with other senior Allied officials and military commanders, attended a number of Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 training sessions in Portugal on Thursday (5 November 2015) showcasing the skills and readiness of NATO’s maritime forces. “Over the past weeks our Allied troops have been tested at land, at sea and in the air. Allied forces have improved their readiness, their skills and their ability to work together in crisis situations,” said the Secretary General.
Mr. Stoltenberg said the exercise, which is NATO’s largest and most important exercise for over a decade, shows NATO’s ability to adapt to the security challenges the Alliance faces. The exercise is being hosted by Portugal, Spain and Italy. “It demonstrates that we can deploy high readiness forces from across the Alliance in a matter of days and it demonstrates that our deterrence is significant and real,” he said.
On Thursday, the Secretary General, together with Portuguese President Dr. Anibal Cavaco Silva and Portuguese Defence Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar-Branco as well as Ambassadors from the North Atlantic Council and Allied military commanders watched a display of special manoeuvres on the Troia peninsula. Allied forces practiced harbour protection operations, an amphibious beach assault and a vessel boarding operation to simulate a security check for contraband weapons.
On Wednesday in Lisbon, the Secretary General met with Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho. Mr. Stoltenberg commended Portugal for the valuable role it plays in the Alliance. Portugal currently leads one of NATO’s standing maritime groups with the NRP D. Francisco de Almeida as flagship.
The Secretary General and other senior Allied officials will also visit the Portuguese navy ship NRP Vasco da Gama and the British helicopter carrier, HMS Ocean while on the Portuguese coast.
More than 36,000 personnel from more than 30 nations are participating in Exercise Trident Juncture 2015. The live military training element of the exercise, which opened on 19 October, wraps up on 6 November. The exercise includes more than 230 units, more than 140 aircraft and more than 60 ships.
L. J. De Rothschild