Across the world, there is a huge military exercise taking place that is the largest of its kind in over ten years. It is happening in Europe, North America, and on the seas as NATO has implemented Exercise Trident Juncture. The purpose is to prepare troops at those locations to meet security challenges, and most say that the exercise is a response to Russian aggression, specifically toward Syria.
According to the International Business Times, NATO has recently begun it largest military exercise in over a decade. This Exercise Trident Juncture is using 36,000 troops from more than 30 countries, and it is designed to test NATO's land, sea, and air capabilities. The Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum website states that the Trident Juncture 2015 will take place throughout Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea as well as Canada, Norway, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
It is designed to "demonstrate NATO's new increased level of ambition in joint modern warfare and will show-case a capable, forward-leading Alliance equipped with the appropriate capability and capacity to meet present and future security challenges". According to the NATO website, Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow has stated that "Trident Juncture will increase our readiness and our ability to work together, including with our partners. It will demonstrate that NATO is capable of responding to threats from any direction". Vershbow has also stated: "We seek confrontation with no one. That is why we have invited observers from around the world, from as far away as Colombia and Russia."
Most sources point the reason for this massive exercise is Russia's continuing aggressive moves in Europe and airstrikes over Syria. There are concerns over Russia's military buildup in the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean. A senior official who asked to remain anonymous told Reuters that "we have to take into account that Russia is going to have a much more substantial presence...with the ability to impede our freedom of maneuver and our freedom of navigation".
John E. Herbst, a former American ambassador to Ukraine and director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, has said that "The West is slowly waking up to the dangers of Mr. Putin's foreign policy, and I believe Montenegro may be a spot where we see some of that awakening". NATO could be planning on welcoming the Adriatic nation of Montenegro (population: 650,000) as a new member as early as December.
NATO Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove stated that "this sends a very clear message to any potential aggressor" and "any attempt to violate the sovereignty of one NATO nation will result in the decisive military engagement of all NATO nations".
The Trident Juncture is planned to continue until November 6th, and it will certify next year's NATO Response Force headquarters and the functions of the new very-high readiness Spearhead Force.