GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (Dec. 17, 2014) -- Lt. Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of NATO's Allied Land Command announced that LANDCOM achieved "Full Operating Capability" at a press conference during exercise Trident Lance 2014, which was conducted at the Joint Multinational Training Command here Dec. 10, 2014.
Ambassador Francesca Tardioli, Deputy Assistant Secretary General from NATO's Operations Division, attended and spoke on the behalf of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, explaining the importance of exercise Trident Lance.
"Trident Lance is a key event for NATO to maintain and train capabilities, in this case in particular land forces' capabilities, to ensure that this Alliance remains ready to respond to any contingency, including obviously Article 5 collective defense," said Tardioli.
"Exercises are of critical importance, especially as we move from a deployed NATO to a more prepared NATO. We shift from deployment to preparedness and in this context exercises are essential. It's critical to maintain the right level of interoperability that we have achieved with a lot of efforts in our current operations," said Tardioli.
In a first of its kind exercise since 1990, three corps-level sized military units -- augmented by various international military support units and agencies -- performed their core functions in a land-based operation, certifying LANDCOM's ability to conduct command and control of multinational forces should the Alliance need to conduct a Major Joint Operation.
"The message of this exercise is to all Europe, specifically our 28 NATO Allies. It talks to the readiness of NATO to meet challenges at speed with capable forces," said Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove. "As you have seen over the past few months, Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine have triggered the alliance to begin a series of assurance and adaptation measures to assure our Allies and adapt our military organizations to the new security environment in Europe. We are evolving in order to be more responsive to challenges to any part of our Alliance."
Lt. Gen. Nicholson explained this exercise tested LANDCOM's ability to successfully execute complex ground to air operations and rapidly deploy those forces to threatened areas of the Alliance, if a threat arises.
Multiple prior training exercises went into the two-year process resulting in LANDCOM being the first deployable component command in the transformed NATO Force Structure.
"So many men and women across the entire Alliance, 23 nations in this headquarters and augmentees for 21 nations, have worked very hard to support the exercise. So, I want to thank all of them of behalf of the Alliance," said Nicholson, adding, "at LANDCOM we recognize the challenges associated with this, we've learned a tremendous amount from this exercise. But we are also confident that coming out of this exercise we are very capable, that we as an Alliance are capable of conducting large-scale land operations."
With the completion of Trident Lance, NATO is looking to the future to build on its strengths and focus on a more prepared NATO.
"There will be more strategic exercises ahead, [specifically] Trident Juncture 2015, with more than 25,000 troops in Spain, Italy and Portugal, will have high visibility," said Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Jean-Palomeros. "But in the same time, we are able to carry on a very dynamic posture through exercise and training in support of the action measures."