Nordic Response demonstrated NATO’s ability to defend the Nordic countries

Source: Finnish Defence Forces

In Nordic Response 24, Finland trained and exercised for the first time defending the northern areas of NATO in a situation framework in accordance with Article 5.

 

Extending to northern areas of Finland, Sweden, and Norway, the exercise involved combat on land, at sea, and in the air. In the exercise, the Nordic countries formed a strong military force jointly with the allies’ reinforcements from across the Atlantic in the northern areas of Norway, Finland, and Sweden.

– Nordic Response 24 represents a landmark in deepening co-operation between the allies and the Nordic countries. The membership in the Alliance of our western neighbour Sweden was sealed during the NATO exercise. In Finland, a record high number of Swedes, altogether up to c. 3,000 soldiers, drilled forming a mechanised brigade as part of a combined army division.

 

 

Now that all Nordic countries are member nations of the Alliance, we have the keys to increasingly deepening defence planning and development of joint capabilities for the defence of the North, commander of the Finnish force to the exercise, ACOS Training from the Defence Command, Brigadier General Manu Tuominen says.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, Logistics Command, and C5 agency operated alongside allies as part of a multinational force during the exercise. The Air Force’s multirole fighters conducted numerous operations over the northern regions of Finland, Sweden, and Norway as part of international flight formations. Meanwhile, the Navy’s coastal jaeger unit executed amphibious landings in Northern Norway alongside Swedish, French, and Italian soldiers. Deployment of the forces to the exercise area and establishing command links in the demanding northern conditions also required close cooperation and specialized expertise.

 

 

Personnel at all levels of leadership – from Norfolk to Hetta

During the exercise, the Finnish Defence Forces have gained significant lessons learned on concentrating forces and operating as part of the NATO command structure which have contributed to the Finnish Defence Forces’ capacity to participate in a NATO-led operation.

– From the Finnish Defence Forces, personnel have served at all command levels of the exercise from Norfolk to Hetta.  We have gained valuable experience in how operate as part of NATO’s multinational joint operation. This is a good basis to continue developing our operating as an ever-closer part of the Alliance, BG Tuominen says.

 

 

Cross-border inter-agency co-operation

The exercise’s success was significantly contributed by close inter-agency co-operation conducted both nationally and jointly with the Nordic countries. The exercise was participated by a high number of civil operators from Finland, Sweden, and Norway whose co-operation strongly supported the movement of troops to the exercise area and their sustainment during the exercise.

In conjunction with the exercise, the civil authorities also participated in a medical evacuation drill conducted in Finnish-Norwegian co-operation which involved, in accordance with its fictional scenario, evacuating two soldiers sustaining burns due to a vehicle accident from Finland to a hospital specialising in burns in Norway.  By means of the inter-agency co-operation networks, the Finnish Defence Forces provided support to other authorities outside the exercise activity by partaking in, for instance, a medical evacuation in Lapland.

 

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