NATO Conducts Massive Military Exercise in Sweden

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.03 - 2024 10:11 AM CET

In the remote reaches of northern Sweden, extensive military activity is currently underway.

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In the remote regions of northern Sweden, a large-scale NATO military exercise is currently underway, drawing attention with kilometer-long military convoys visible on the roads.

This operation, part of the broader Steadfast Defender 24 series, involves over 90,000 soldiers during its span from March to May.

Sweden's New Role on NATO's Northern Flank

For the first time, Sweden, which recently joined NATO, is hosting and facilitating the transit of American military units traveling from Norway through Norrbotten to Finland.

Major General Fredrik Ståhlberg, who oversees the operation, emphasized the logistical challenges involved.

"We have to ensure transport and safety. It's not just loading and going between points A and B," he stated in an interview with SVT Nyheter Norrbotten.

The exercise sees approximately 130 military vehicles and 550 soldiers moving through the region, inevitably impacting local traffic.

"On the whole, I think people understand why we do this. It's for the people who live here," Ståhlberg explained.

After the Swedish leg of the exercise, the American units will press on to Finland to join forces with Finnish and Norwegian soldiers in a subsequent exercise named Northern Forest.

Immediate Response 24 aims to enhance NATO's capacity for rapid deployment in Europe, focusing particularly on the Northern Hemisphere—a critical area not only for its proximity to the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans but also for facilitating swift reinforcements from the United States to Europe.

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