21st Century Warfare (II)

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS (Own report) - Today, NATO's "Very High Readiness Joint Task Force" (VJTF), with its significant contingent of German troops, will launch a series of maneuvers to prepare for its role as "Spearhead" in the alliance's future war operations. A first "performance test" will be conducted until Friday, followed by the two-part "Noble Jump" exercises. The training will focus on alerting the elite troops and on their rapid relocation within NATO territory, with the official objective being to prevent "terrorists" from advancing onto the territory of an allied country and provoking a "government crisis." The culmination of this year's maneuvers will be the "Trident Juncture" exercise in September. Twenty-five thousand soldiers are expected to participate, training for a war of intervention in a fictitious country at the Horn of Africa. The western troops will not only be confronting a guerilla army but will also encounter chemical warfare, food insecurity, and have to channel population displacements. According to NATO, "lessons" have been learned from the military operations in Afghanistan and the "contemporary conflicts" such as in Ukraine.

Performance Test

According to German specialized media, NATO's "Very High Readiness Joint Task Force" (VJTF) is preparing for its role as "Spearhead" in future combat operations. About half of the 5,000 - 7,000 VJTF soldiers are German. The VJTF will have its first "performance test" beginning today, Tuesday, ending this Friday. Various NATO command staffs will participate in the so-called "Alert Exercise" including the I. German/Netherlands Corps, headquartered in Muenster (Westphalia). In May, the VJTF will be training in rapid relocation within the NATO area on the military training grounds in Munster (Lower-Saxony). According to the media, the objective of this elite unit, whose German core is comprised of the Mechanized Infantry Battalion 371 stationed in Marienberg (Saxony), is to "strengthen the deterrence of Russia."[1]

Side by Side

A similar maneuver - "Noble Jump" - is scheduled for April and June in the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic. This "alert" exercise will focus on VJTF's airlifted rapid relocation within the NATO territory. Referring to Ukraine's civil war, a NATO spokesperson described this exercise's goal as preventing "terrorists" from advancing onto the territory of an allied country and provoking a "government crisis." The VJTF will work side by side "with the country's police, security, and border authorities."[2]

High Intensity Combat

In November, the "Multinational Corps Northeast" (MNC NE) which was established in Szczecin Poland by Germany, Poland and Denmark, will be training to take on its designated function as the command center of the VJTF. According to the MNC NC, which is currently being considerably expanded, (german-foreign-policy.com reported [3]), the "Compact Eagle" maneuver follows the scenario of restoring the "territorial integrity of a NATO member state."[4] On the basis of computer-assisted simulations, "high intensity combat" will be exercised, the statement continues.[5]

Russia in the Crosshairs

The exercises in question take their orientation from the "Skolkan" scenario developed by NATO in 2013, and made public at the end of last year by Col. Gen. Hans-Lothar Domröse, the German NATO general primarily in command of the VJTF's development. Media reports describe the scenario: "Following Estonian Hiiumaa Island's invasion from the north, by the fictitious nation of 'Bothnia,' the enemy invaders had to be repelled." The mission was carried out "in a civilian and an information environment," which "was considerably determined by social networks," the reports explain. "Particularly, with the emergence of disputes between those in favor and those opposed to the NATO operation, ... the analysis of communication played a significant role in decision making." As the media observers at the time concluded, even though comprehending the "Skolkan" scenario calls for a modicum of "abstraction capability," however, when, for example, the simulated invaders are armed with Scud - D surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, it becomes clear "that Bothnia stands for Russia."[6]

Lessons Learned

The "Sorotan" scenario, which will be enacted during NATO's largest maneuver this year, dubbed "Trident Juncture," will demonstrate the operational readiness of the VJTF. NATO, according to the scenario, will enact a military intervention in the fictitious region "Cerasia" at the Horn of Africa. "With desertification, dry aquifers, riparian disputes and an ever diminishing resource, Kamon, the aggressor country in the region, invades southwards in order to seize key dams in Lakuta, which was caught ill-prepared to counter the invasion." As NATO's planners further narrate, the "aggressive military dictatorship, Kamon" wages a "hybrid war," which is particularly apparent by the fact that it denies "its true strategic goals." Ultimately, in its intervention in aid of "Lakutas," NATO finds itself confronted with a "complex threat environment" with "conventional and unconventional threats," including "food insecurity, population displacements, cyber-attacks, chemical warfare, and information war." These are the "lessons" that should have been learned from the military operations in Afghanistan and the "contemporary conflicts" such as in Ukraine.[7]

Highly Visible

The "Trident Juncture" exercise is scheduled from September 28 to November 6, at several locations in Portugal, Spain, and Italy. Involving more than 25,000 soldiers, it will be the largest maneuver "since the fall of the Berlin wall," according to the US military. "For the NATO Alliance, this large-scale, highly visible exercise will be an ideal venue" to demonstrate its capabilities.[8] Its "Spearhead" is mainly comprised of Bundeswehr soldiers.

Please read also 21st Century Warfare (I).

[1] Exercise Watch: Für den Kalender 2015. augengeradeaus.net 13.03.2015.
[2] NATO ramping up military exercises in 2015. www.janes.com 11.03.2015.
[3] See Ein Ring um Russland.
[4] One step forward to the exercise Compact Eagle 15. mncne.pl 27.11.2014.
[5] Life in Stavanger for the soldiers from HQ MNC NE. mncne.pl 13.12.2014.
[6] Nato-Übung mit politischer Botschaft. www.nzz.ch 08.11.2014.
[7] SOROTAN will challenge NATO against hybrid threats. www.jwc.nato.int 02.03.2015.
[8] USAREUR key enabler for NATO's 2015 'flagship' exercise Trident Juncture. www.army.mil 01.12.2014.