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NAPLES, Italy — With tensions on the rise between the nations of Vastate, Magland and Laprep on the island of Mada, off the west coast of Africa, NATO forces have responded to the crisis.

If you don’t recognize the names of the countries, it’s because they don’t exist. The scenario is part of NATO exercise Steadfast Jaw, which concluded this week. The computer-based exercise, conducted in Italy, Turkey and Germany, involved some 2,500 staff member from all 26 NATO nations.

During the exercise, various components of the staff were tested with situations including ethnic cleansing, human trafficking, deteriorating security on the ground, targeting of alliance troops and humanitarian relief for displaced citizens.

The exercise was meant to certify the land and maritime component of the NATO Reaction Force. That involved a shift from a “deployable joint task force” to a “combined joint task force.” The difference between the two deals with the time-frame for movement and the number of troops involved.

A deployable task force consists of 12,000 troops required to move within five days of notification, whereas a combined joint task force consists of 30,000 troops required to move within 30 days.

“Since different NATO elements command different components of the Allied Forces, the exercise also was used as an opportunity to certify the transfer of the land forces from the German/Dutch Brigade to the Spanish Land Component,” said Lt. Col. Matthias Boehnke, a spokesman for Allied Joint Force Command in Naples.

Steadfast Jaw was the second of two exercises designed to train, validate and certify elements of the NATO Reaction Force. The first exercise, Steadfast Jackpot, was conducted in February.

According to Lt. Gen. Peter Pearson, Deputy Commander, Allied Joint force Command Naples, the value of an exercise like Steadfast Jaw is the ability to prepare for noncombatant aspects.

“Chances are that most … of the operations NATO gets involved with will not be of the war-fighting variety — but something in the way of peace support, humanitarian aid or natural disaster (relief),” Pearson said. “Increasingly, we prepare ourselves for peace operations. All the training dovetails into how we think we will operate in the future.”


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