An exercise designed to test the ability of NATO allies to operate in the challenging Arctic environment is ready for take-off in Norway’s Troms and Finnmark counties.
Worth noting is that the exercise is being staged above the Arctic Circle, indicating that NATO is looking to evaluate its readiness in a region that is becoming more accessible due to climate change.
From March 2 to 18, between 15,000 and 16,000 armed forces personnel from ten countries will take part in a series of evolutions with focus on high-intensity combat and the development of amphibious capacities.
Cold Response is led by the Norwegian Armed Forces and has been conducted every other year since 2006. In odd years, Norway organizes a small winter exercise.
Training preparations for the exercise begin on February 27 with the main field exercise itself, in which the thousands of multinational troops will simulate a high-intensity combat scenario, starting on March 12.
Among the participants will be over 2,000 UK personnel for the exercise, of which around 1,250 will be from the Lead Commando Group with the rest supporting a naval task group led by HMS Albion and the Joint Helicopter Command air group. The US is sending an estimated 7,500 troops.
Other participants include the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.
Norway has invited observers from all the 56 member states of the OSCE, which also includes Russia, to the exercise.