Cold Response 2016 was held in the Trøndelag counties in Central Norway from 19 February to 22 March.
The main exercise phase lasted from 2 to 9 March. 15,000 soldiers from 14 nations participate.
The following nations participate in Cold Response: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the USA, the United Kingdom and Norway.
In addition, there are several participating units from NATO.
Norwegian winter can be extreme, and the cold and changing conditions might be unfamiliar and surprising to many. In case of an emergency, military personnel need experiece with combat operations in cold weather.
Norway is ideally suited for this kind of winter training, and exercises like Cold Response give us the opportunity to test and confirm our plans and tactics. Cold Response also strengthens cooperation between military and civilian organisations, and military cooperation between the participating countries.
In article by Matthew L. Schehl published in Marine Times on March 2, 2016, the role of the Marines was highlighted in the exercise:
Members of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Marine Corps Forces Europe joined Norwegian troops and 10 other militaries Tuesday to kick off the largest iteration of Exercise Cold Response ever.
The 10-day exercise thrusts about 16,000 troops into grueling, subzero conditions to test their ability to move and fight together against a common enemy.
“It will be more or less a traditional scenario with an aggressor part and a defending part,” Brig. Gen. Eldar Berli, commander of the Norwegian army’s Brigade North, said in a NATO video. “
It is an exercise that we have conducted here in Norway for many, many years.” [[Matt, when you can avoid, let’s use the interviews you got instead of one from a release up top. Those can be pushed down. GH]]
For the first time, the troops participating in Cold Response will form a combined joint task force that will be led by Norway’s Brigade North.
That combined with the scale of the exercise will help Marines better prepare to operate alongside NATO troops, said Col. William Bentley, 2nd MEB’s operations officer. During past iterations Cold Response, a battalion of Marines or fewer participated, he added…..
For the first time, it also integrates all participating military personnel under one combined joint task force — formed Feb. 22 — led by Norway’s Brigade North.
“Marine Corps participation was [previously] at the battalion level and below with a lot of unit training going on, but I don’t think we’ve had this scale in Norway,” said Col. William Bentley, 2nd MEB’s operations officer.
“Zero [degrees] and below is for most of us extreme temperatures, and being able to put all this together and operate over the better part of 60 days start to finish, it’s just an outstanding opportunity for both coalition and NATO interoperability.”
03/06/2016: In the NATO video above, NATO forces are seen operating in the Cold Response 2016 exercise held in Norway in 2016.