Helsinki (Agencies): The NATO Arctic exercise, known as ‘Nordic Response 2024’, began in February in the Norwegian Arctic. For the first time, Finland’s forces are included as an official allied member. This inclusion marks a significant milestone for NATO.

In another first, the Land Component Command headquarters for the exercise has been transferred to the US Marine Corps’ II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF). The component, which comprises Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish division forces, will conduct exercises under the guidance of II MEF, in collaboration with the Norwegian hosts.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Nash, the deputy chief of plans for the expeditionary force and a lead planner for the component, expressed the significance of this exercise during an interview on March 1. He emphasized that this is the first time they are conducting this exercise with a new NATO ally, which he finds noteworthy.

According to Lt Col Nash, this exercise provides an opportunity to view the battlespace from a different perspective. It allows them to take a fresh look at it and develop more interdependence and integration with their allies.

Lt Col Nash also mentioned having some unique conversations with Finnish force leaders. These discussions helped him reframe his understanding of the Arctic and how operations are conducted there.

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