The headquarters (HQ) of NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) began Exercise 'Trident Juncture 16' ('TJ16') at Royal Air Force (RAF) St Mawgan in Cornwall on 24 October. The exercise, which lasts 10 days, is a major command post exercise that will certify HQ ARRC as a NATO Land Forces HQ in advance of it assuming the role as part of the NATO Response Force (NRF) 2017.
'TJ16' is also testing the NATO Joint Force Command HQ in Naples in preparation for it assuming the role as HQ of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) 2017. HQ ARRC, for which the United Kingdom is the framework nation, will provide the Land Component Command of VJTF 17. The United Kingdom is also the lead nation for the land element of the VJTF. Its contribution is based on 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade with 12 other nations also contributing forces.
'TJ16' is being run by NATO's Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, which is hosting higher and lower response cells representing NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and the ARRC's subordinate formations, respectively, together with other cells representing the other force components, host nation agencies, and non-government organisations.
The exercise scenario is set in Estonia, which is being threatened by a fictional adversary. Within the exercise HQ ARRC's subordinate formations include the 1st Danish Division and three brigade-level NATO task forces: 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade plus Spanish and Italian-based task forces, together with two Estonian brigades.
Visiting the exercise at RAF St Mawgan on 24 October, UK defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said, "We are bound in NATO to help defend each other. It is important that our different militaries work together, ready to deploy rapidly to meet any threat. Since the 2014 Warsaw summit we have sent out a very clear signal to any potential aggressor, Russia or anybody else, that NATO is a defensive alliance that is ready to defend itself.
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