NATO and its allies are planning to hold the biggest military exercises since 2002 in an effort to counter the threat of Islamic State on the alliance’s southern flank.
The exercises, which involve 36,000 personnel from more than 30 countries, including non-NATO nations such as Sweden and Austria, will take place in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and in the Mediterranean Sea from October 3 to November 6.
NATO commanders said on July 15 that this will be the toughest training yet in an “artificial-threat scenario" in which militants attack on land, from the air, and at sea.
General Hans-Lothar Domrose, commander of the NATO military command in Brunssum, the Netherlands, who is preparing the exercise, said in a reference to Russia that the alliance “cannot choose between the eastern threat and the southern threat, we have to train for both."
Based on reporting by Reuters