31 countries come together for NATO’s Trident Juncture

In the largest military exercise of its kind since the end of the Cold War, the United States is leading NATO allies and partners in a test of operational readiness.

Trident Juncture began October 25 and ends November 7 in Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden. The international exercise includes 65 ships, 250 aircraft, 10,000 vehicles and 50,000 personnel and is part of a regular schedule of multinational exercises that test NATO’s ability to operate in different situations and environments.

This exercise “will have a deterrent effect on anybody who might think about crossing a contiguous border or violating the sovereignty of a member of the NATO alliance,” said U.S. Admiral James Foggo, who is commanding Trident Juncture. All 29 NATO members are participating in the exercise, joined by Sweden and Finland.

Under a NATO flag

Military boats with people on decks docked at Norwegian harbor (NATO/Warrant Officer Fran C. Valverde)
German sailors aboard the FGS Homburg on October 24 preparing for Trident Juncture. During the exercise, all troops serve under the unified military command structure. (NATO/Warrant Officer Fran C. Valverde)

Marines on the march

Long lines of soldiers in camouflage gear marching through barren brown landscape (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Corporal Menelik Collins)
U.S. Marines hike in Iceland in late October as part of cold weather training to prepare for a simulated attack on an ally. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Corporal Menelik Collins)

Harsh conditions

Soldiers in camouflage gear and light-colored boots marching with large packs (Allied Joint Force Command Naples)
Cold weather means more gear. U.S. Marines carry cold weather supplies alongside NATO partners and allies in Iceland in October in preparation for Trident Juncture. (Allied Joint Force Command Naples)

Multinational cooperation

Two soldiers exchanging patches (Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum Imagery/Sergeant Marc-André Gaudreault)
German and British snipers exchange unit badges during October 25 joint sniper training in Rena, Norway. Cross-military training promotes goodwill and ensures compatibility. (Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum Imagery/Sergeant Marc-André Gaudreault)

Different landscapes, different camouflage

Man attaching camouflage to a tank (German Army/SGM Marco Dorow)
NATO’s rapid response force applying camouflage to a German tank as part of October preparations for Trident Juncture in Norway (German Army/SGM Marco Dorow)

Northern lights

Military ship at night surrounded by the northern lights (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Kevin Leitner)
The USS Iwo Jima, an amphibious assault ship capable of carrying planes and helicopters to support ground forces, passes under the northern lights in the Norwegian Sea in late October. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Kevin Leitner)

Training with non-NATO partners

Jet sitting on snowy runway next to snow-covered trees (Allied Joint Force Command Naples/Minna Pyykönen)
A Finnish fighter jet takes off from Rovaniemi Air Base, Finland, as part of an October 25 multicountry training exercise. Finland is not part of NATO but is taking part in the exercise as a partner country. (Allied Joint Force Command Naples/Minna Pyykönen)

Cold weather training

Man in thin clothing charging through waist-deep water (Mediacentrum Defensie/Hille Hillinga)
A Dutch soldier wearing a security rope braves the Norwegian waters as part of an October 26 cold weather training exercise. (Mediacentrum Defensie/Hille Hillinga)


Helicopter with two people inside and four people outside in orange jumpsuits (Forsvaret [Norwegian Armed Forces]/Marius Vågenes Villanger)
Two pilots in a Portuguese helicopter give a thumbs-up October 26 as four Norwegian crew members dressed in orange dry-suits strike a pose aboard a Norwegian ship. (Forsvaret [Norwegian Armed Forces]/Marius Vågenes Villanger)


Over the years, NATO — a defensive alliance that formed in 1949 to address the threat of a hostile Soviet Union — has adapted and expanded, but the alliance remains a cornerstone of American security.

The central premise of the NATO alliance, enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, is that an attack on any member is considered an attack against them all. The United States is the largest contributor to NATO’s forces. To improve NATO’s readiness and ability, the 29 allied nations have pledged to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense and 20 percent of their overall defense spending on modernization by 2024.

Men approaching jets in bright morning sunlight and fog (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Adelola Tinubu)
A flight crew of F/A-18E Super Hornets prepares for takeoff aboard the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the Norwegian Sea. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Adelola Tinubu)

More than 14,000 U.S. service members from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are participating in Exercise Trident Juncture. Immediately after Trident Juncture, NATO forces will take part in Anakonda, a military exercise hosted by Poland and Baltic nations.

The lessons learned from Norway are relevant to other countries, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “It is important,” he said, “to show that we are able to support and defend any ally against any threat.”