An expected 40,000 soldiers and 10,000 vehicles are coming to Norway this autumn for exercise Trident Juncture – NATO's largest military exercise since 2002. The field exercise starts in late October, but the first military materiel and vehicles arrived in Åndalsnes, Western Norway on Saturday 18 August. The equipment arrived with the Italian roll-on/roll-off cargo vessel "Capucine".
NATO is in charge of the exercise, while Norway is the host country. This weekend's arrival marks the start for the coming high profile exercise – an exercise of great importance for the Nordic country.
"Trident Juncture is vital for Norway's defence capability. Our military forces get valuable training along with our allies. But equally important is to test our ability to receive reinforcements from NATO", says Lieutenant General Rune Jakobsen, Chief of the Norwegian Armed Forces' Joint Headquarters, adding:
"Parts of the civil society in Southern and Central Norway will contribute through Norway's total defence concept. Military activity in these areas will also be significantly higher than normal, so we will provide the public with thorough information in the time to come.
Home Guard in charge
The arrival of the first equipment this weekend is part of a well-coordinated operation that also involves the Norwegian Home Guard and the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation. Personnel from the two departments worked all Saturday to unload the ship and prepare the equipment for further transportation to the exercise areas.
"Our soldiers are in charge of force protection and ensure that vehicles, materiel and other equipment are safe", says Lieutenant Colonel John Arvid Svindland, Chief of the Norwegian Home Guard's 11th District.
The Home Guard is also in charge of the dialogue between civilian and military departments. Among others, the Norwegian Armed Forces work closely with the police and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, all of them present during the arrival of the Italian ship.
"The civilian–military cooperation works very well. We have been planning this for more than two years, and we have already learned a lot that will be useful also after the exercise. This is the Norwegian total defence concept in practice – and it works", Svindland says.
This is Norway's total defence concept
- In the event of a crisis or conflict, the Norwegian Armed Forces depend on support from the civil society. The total defence is Norway's total, collective military and civilian effort during a crisis or war.
- The Norwegian Armed Forces are in charge of the military division of the total defence, while the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) is in charge of the civilian part.
- Should a conflict or crisis arise, a number of civilian professions and branches may be affected. These include: public healthcare, transport and logistics, agriculture, food industry, media, and construction.
- The Norwegian total defence will be tested and trained this autumn, during NATO's exercise Trident Juncture in Norway.