Trojan Footprint 2016 was a special operations training and readiness exercise for the NATO Response Force Special Operations Component Command (NRF-SOCC) and its components running from May 8-20.
Its primary aim was to refine NRF processes and demonstrate the deployment and employment capabilities of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). These capabilities set conditions for follow-on VJTF Land, Air, and Maritime forces which will be conducting exercises throughout the summer, like the ongoing exercise Brilliant Jump II - a Joint Forces Command Brunssum-directed VJTF readiness exercise.
"Trojan Footprint 2016 was an absolute success from the Special Operations Component Command perspective," said Col. Lawrence Daley, operations officer for the Special Operations Component Command of the NATO Response Force. "The exercise enabled the testing of the NRF alert and deployment sequence in addition to our forces ability to integrate and operate with host nations forces across the exercise's training area, to me this clearly shows that our Very High Readiness Joint Task Force elements are able to rapidly deploy and are ready for and capable of dealing with any contingency set before them."
Trojan Footprint involved more than 1,200 participants from eleven partner and allied nations to include Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the United States and was executed at training venues spanning five different countries (Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland).
Trojan Footprint was a combined planned and coordinated exercise that was developed over the last year using NATO planning doctrine with input from all participating nations.
Exercise Trojan Footprint 16 was conducted using a hybrid threat construct, meaning forces training in this event can expect to train against both conventional and nonconventional forces as well as criminal elements. Land, air and maritime special operations tactical groups and teams coordinated activities to neutralize enemy forces high value targets. Special Operations tactical groups were led by Special Operations Component Command.
Trojan Footprint was linked to and executed concurrently with Estonia's annual National Defense exercise (DAGGER) and Lithuania's annual multinational SOF exercise (FLAMING SWORD).
“This exercise was a stepping stone to bigger and better actions in the future,” said Col. Modestas Petrauskas, the Lithuanian Special Operations Commander. The joint work with other forces, engaging multiple agencies all worked towards building capabilities in the Baltic region.
Trojan Footprint 16 strengthened security institutions, promoted multilateral sharing of information, and increased interoperability among the partner nations of the NATO Response Force and the Baltic Region. The exercise helped to achieve NATO objectives for military capacity development training and multinational regional cooperation.
Combined training and security cooperation programs enable allies and partners to respond more effectively to regional crises and meet their security needs through improved border security, energy security, and countering threats such as terrorism, illegal trafficking, and weapons proliferation.
This exercise validated the requirements set at the NATO Wales Summit in September of 2014 in time for members of the alliance to reconvene at the Warsaw summit in July.