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Jun 22 2021

Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021 concludes

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Romania – Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021 concluded today in Romania.

More than 9,000 participants, nearly 650 pieces of equipment, and more than 20 NATO member states participated in the exercise.

"The exercise allows us to show the value of Allies working together," said Admiral Robert Burke, Joint Force Command Naples commander, "This exercise also confirms that our NATO Response Forces are trained, skilled, and are able to respond to any threat at any time from any direction."

Steadfast Defender 2021 took place from 12 May to 22 June, and had three main parts focused on improving interoperability of Allied forces and practicing military mobility throughout Europe.

The first part of the exercise was reinforcement by sea. It focused on improving NATO's ability to protect and defend the Atlantic Ocean and specifically the strategic lines of communication, which enable transatlantic reinforcement by North American allies.

Twenty ships, a submarine and 60 aircraft participated off the coast of Portugal. It included the United Kingdom's HMS Queen Elizabeth.

"Working together and coordinating efforts in a synergistic way is a force multiplier and contributes decisively to show NATO strength and increase its deterrence and posture," said Rear Admiral Manuel Aguirre Aldereguía, Commander Standing NATO Maritime Group 2.

The second part of the exercise was reinforcement by land. It was a command post exercise focused on enabling a safe and secure transit of military forces through Allied nations.

"My team has done an excellent job," said Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe, Joint Support and Enabling Command Commander. "We were able to experience many valuable insights and managed challenging situations in every single branch."

The final part of the exercise was a regular deployment called Noble Jump. It tested NATO's rapid reaction forces and involved the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).

"Being the core of VJTF, the 66th Mechanized Infantry Brigade with its Allied elements, trained and motivated personnel and state-of-the-art weapon systems is mission ready for any task given by NATO," said Brigade Colonel Erdoğan Koçoğlu, Commander VJTF 2021.

Steadfast Defender 2021 was NATO's largest multi-domain exercise of the year and it was designed to test strategic reinforcement across the Atlantic Ocean, our forces' mobility across European nations and the VJTF's rapid reaction capabilities.

Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office

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