NATO’s biggest military training this year, Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021, is continuing in Romania. On this occasion, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, and NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană visited the country and held a joint press conference to talk about the scope of the exercise and the message it sends to the world.
Steadfast Defender 2021 officially kicked off on May 12 in Portugal and will end on June 22 in Romania. The military exercise, which took two years to plan, will focus on “NATO’s capability to conduct reinforcement across the Alliance. The span of the exercise is broad, ranging from the training of the new Joint Force Command in Norfolk, the Joint Support and Enabling Command in Germany, and the delivery of the Very High Readiness Task Force Land Component into Romania on a deployment exercise,” said Lieutenant Colonel James Scott, the officer with the primary responsibility for organizing the multi-phase training.
“We are facing the most challenging security environment in a generation, and NATO has responded with the biggest adaptation of our collective defense in a generation,” NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană said at a press conference organized on the occasion of NATO Military Committee Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach’s visit to Romania.
The Steadfast Defender 2021 involves 20 ships, 60 aircraft, 500 vehicles, and more than 9,000 personnel representing 20 allies. This training is not directed against anyone; it is simple peacetime training to make sure the allied forces can work together in crisis and conflict, Geoană highlighted in his speech.
“Steadfast Defender shows that we stand together in an unpredictable world, and sends a clear message that we are ready to respond to any threat from any direction,” he added.
Steadfast Defender 2021 enters its final phase on Romanian territory: it tests NATO’s rapid reaction forces and involves the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). The VJTF is the spearhead military unit within NATO and the first to respond to a crisis. This year, some 4,000 troops from 12 countries will be involved.
NATO’s biggest military exercise ends on June 22. The start and end locations of the training carry a strong symbolic geographical statement: “This is a symbol of the coherent deterrence and defense that NATO is having,” Geoana said at the press conference.
Title image: Joint press point with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană together with the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the Minister of Defence of Romania, Nicolae Ciucă and the Chief of Defence of Romania, Lt. Gen. Daniel Petrescu. Image source: Ministry of Defence of Romania