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Brilliant Jump 2016: NATO’s Alert Exercise Programme Commences in Earnest

Brunssum, the Netherlands- "As a result of progressing crisis in Europe, NATO Response Forces are being alerted to the state of their highest readiness; immediately, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, currently residing in Spain, receives an order to prepare for possible deployment…”. This is the scenario baseline for the exercise that starts today across numerous NATO Headquarters in Europe: Brilliant Jump 2016  phase I - Alertex.


Brilliant Jump – Alertex (alert exercise) is the first in a series of four exercises (the others being Trident Joust, Brilliant Jump phase II – Deployex, Brilliant Capability) designed to prove the concept of NATO’s Readiness Action Plan (RAP) and concomitantly put to test all its core elements, including the NATO Command Structure (NCS) and a number of Headquarters throughout Europe.


The exercise is scheduled to take place during the period 1–10 April 2016 within the concerned headquarters and commands, testing the procedures employed to activate the NATO Response Force (NRF) and taking it to the stage where NATO forces relocate from their permanent bases to the designated ports and airports of embarkation.


Among those participating in the exercise are: Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (Belgium), Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (Netherlands), NATO Rapid Deployable Corps (Spain), the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (multiple locations), Multinational Corps North-East (Poland), NATO Force Integration Unit (Poland) and numerous military Headquarters and units within Spain, Poland, the United Kingdom and Albania.

The Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is composed of a land brigade supported by air, sea and Special Forces and is capable of deploying at very short notice when the sovereignty of any member of the Alliance is under threat. The VJTF is established on a rotational basis and during this first year it will be led by Spain. The main purpose of this Alert exercise is to test the activation of this force from the moment following the decision of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to activate, until the ‘Spearhead’ forces are ready to be deployed.

The unit at the core of VJTF throughout 2016 is the 7th Light Infantry Brigade "Galicia” (BRILAT by its Spanish acronym). BRILAT attained certification in mid-2015 during an exercise dubbed "Spearhead”, which is the purpose of VJTF: to be the vanguard, the first to arrive. If the crisis escalates and more troops are needed, two other land brigades would be deployed to provide rapid support.

Throughout 2016 the Spanish Brigade BRILAT is subordinated to the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, Spain (NRDC-ESP), whose Headquarters - based in Bétera (Valencia) - was certified to undertake this task during exercise "Trident Juncture 2015”, which took place in Zaragoza last autumn, having proven itself compliant with all the evaluation criteria demanded by the Alliance to command the land forces of the new NATO Response Force.

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