The NATO military alliance, now headed by former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, has accepted an offer from Norway’s defense ministry to hold a major military exercise in Norway in 2018.
Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide met Stoltenberg in Brussels this week for a meeting of all the alliance’s defense ministers. Søreide said Norway was willing to host the exercise and Stoltenberg officially accepted the offer on Wednesday.
The exercise will bring an estimated 25,000 alliance soldiers, military equipment, vessels and aircraft to Norway. It’s likely to be held in Northern Norway, not far from the border Norway shares with Russia.
“We’re talking about an exercise where we focus on defense of alliance area,” Søreide said. NATO has set a goal of holding more military exercises in the coming years, and sees a need to flex its muscles at a time when the Russian military is being rebuilt and becoming much more offensive.