Recently 230 officers from all the participating countries gathered in Harstad, North Norway to plan next year’s exercise. Cold Response is held biannually in North Norway and is one of the most important events for NATO to train in Arctic conditions.
“Participants in Cold Response tell us that if you can master training in harsh winter conditions, you can succeed in surviving anywhere else in the world”, says Exercise Coordinator Trond Bakke to NRK.
The unusual large interest towards next year’s exercise is connected with the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.
Soldiers from 16 NATO countries Partnership for Peace nations will take part in Cold Response 2014, which takes place in Nordland and Troms counties in the period March 10-21. The main purpose of this year’s winter exercise is to rehearse high intensity operations in winter conditions.
“The reason for the large interest to take part in next year’s exercise is that all NATO countries are gathering strength after finishing the mission in Afghanistan and are trying to find back to the roots of military training”, Bakke says.
In the last Cold Response exercise in 2012 some 16.000 soldiers from 15 countries participated, making it the largest drill in Norway in ten years. That exercise included the country’s largest ever live firing exercise and the tragic Hercules aircraft accident, where five Norwegian officers died when their plane crashed into Kebnekaise mountain in Sweden.