Elements of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) began deploying to Sardinia, Italy on Apr. 17, 2023, and continue to arrive in the region for exercise Noble Jump 23. In total 2,200 troops from seven NATO nations will demonstrate the VJTF’s ability to execute a timely deployment in case of any contingency or to defend NATO from any adversary. The exercise contributes to NATO’s Deterrence and Defence posture in the South and East of Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s (SACEUR) Area of Responsibility (AOR). It is also an opportunity for the participating forces to join a large-scale Italian national exercise, Joint Stars 23, following Noble Jump.
“This is the first time the Jump series of exercises has been held in the Mediterranean and ensures our troops have the capability and expertise to respond to any security threat to the southern flank or to the vital sea lanes upon which our economies depend. The rapid deployment and complex exercise demonstrate NATO’s ability to defend every inch of NATO territory,” said JFC Naples Commander Admiral Stuart B. Munsch.
The Jump series of exercises was created to test NATO’s logistics and its ability to respond and move NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force quickly in the event of a crisis and in any location within SACEUR’s AOR. The first set of military drills for the new rapid reaction force was Noble Jump held in April 2015 across Europe and involved 1,500 troops. The following year exercise Brilliant Jump was held in Poland. Over the years, the Jump series has been held in various locations including the Baltics, Romania and Norway. This year, Noble Jump is being held in Sardinia.
NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to create the VJTF at the Wales Summit in 2014, in response to a changed security environment, including Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine and instability in North Africa and the Middle East. The VJTF is provided by allies in rotation and includes several thousand troops, ready to respond where needed with air, sea and Special Forces support. It is part of the Alliance’s larger NATO Response Force (NRF), which was created in 2002. Overall command of the NRF belongs to SACEUR however NATO’s Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFC Brunssum) and Joint Force Command Naples (JFC Naples) assume the operational command on a rotational basis.