About 5,000 NATO soldiers to participate in collective defense exercise in Baltic region

U.S. Marines and Estonian soldiers wade ashore during Baltic training exercise

From BNS:  Up to 5,000 NATO soldiers will attend Steadfast Jazz 2013, an exercise to be held in the Baltic States and Poland this fall, a NATO officer has said. . . .

Steadfast Jazz 2013 will be the so-called Article 5 exercise; i.e., a training of a joint NATO response against aggression against any member of the Alliance. The exercise should follow a special scenario to practically implement the defence plans for Poland and the Baltic states.

The NATO official stressed on condition of anonymity that the exercise on the Eastern edge of the Alliance would not equal the exercise to be held by Russia and Belarus near Lithuania in September in terms of the number troops.

“It won’t be as big as Zapad 2013, that’s for sure. Their exercise is going to be bigger than ours. I’m not exactly sure what we’re talking about in terms of numbers: 2,000 on the ground, but navy and air force are on top of that. So I think it is around under 5,000. And if you ask the Russians how many are in Zapad 2013 – many more than that,” the official told BNS when asked to specify the approximate number of participants of Steadfast Jazz.. . . .

Asked whether it was merely a coincidence that Steadfast Jazz 2013 would take place at the same time as the large-scale strategic exercise Zapad 2013 in Russia and Belarus, he replied that Russia also had to train and prepare its soldiers.

“It’s not troubling to us in NATO that they are exercising their troops, we find this a normal thing. Through the NATO-Russia council we’re being transparent with each other about these manoeuvres to keep tensions low and to make sure there is no misunderstanding in these things. And we certainly have plans within NATO to share information about what we’re doing an exercise Steadfast Jazz and I believe we’re even planning to invite Russian officials to join us for a portion of that exercise to actually see what it is we’re doing,” the NATO officer noted.  (photo: Sgt. Rocco DeFilippis/DoD)

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