NATO allies and a handful of partner countries prepare for the Alliance's largest joint military exercises for decades.
Ahead of the Trident Juncture exercises, which will involve 45,000 troops, 10,000 vehicles, 60 ships, and 150 aircraft from 31 countries this fall in and around Norway, the Alliance emphasizes strength and transparency. I have only invited Russian observers so they can get the message up close.
The US Navy admiral commanding the exercise hopes Russia will accept her bid.
"I expect them to come, it's in their interest to see what we do," Admiral James Foggo told reporters Friday. "They will learn things I want them there They can see how well [NATO allies and partners] work together."
"There is a strong dissuasive message being sent here," he said. "You will see that we are very good at what we do, and that will have a deterrent effect on any country that wants to cross those borders, but especially for a nation in particular."
Russia has not yet accepted the offer.
The Exercises, Article 5 (Collective Defense), covers the training of land, air, and amphibious resources to ward off an opponent who threatens the sovereignty of a NATO ally or partner state. The admiral refused to comment on whether or not the exercise would contain a nuclear element, as had been done in a previous Russian exercise.
Although previously reported to be the largest NATO exercise since the Cold War, these exercises are actually the largest since 2002, Foggo said Friday at the briefing. The Allied exercises date back to massive war games in eastern Russia, where tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Russian and Chinese troops are preparing for large-scale military operations against an unspecified third country.
The purpose of Trident Juncture, according to the handouts presented on Friday, is "to ensure that NATO troops are trained, able to act together, and ready to respond to any threat from any direction . "