Cold Response 2022: NATO Sends 35K Troops to Norway for “Drills”

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Need further proof that the Ukraine war is only going to escalate? Then look no further than Cold Response 2022 – the largest military exercise within the Arctic Circle in modern times.

Cold Response 2022
Image taken from Cold Response 2014.

Every two years, NATO puts on a Cold Response exercise. The stated purpose of this military exercise is to test NATO’s capabilities of working together within a cold environment. It just so happens that 2022 is another year that Cold Response is scheduled to begin, and it started earlier this week.

At the moment, you have roughly 35,000 NATO troops, a nuclear attack sub, around 200 aircraft, and approximately 50 vessels combined from roughly 28 different countries that are amassed in Norway for participation in Cold Response 2022. And just 130 miles from the Russian border.

The details of Cold Response 2022

Leading the entire exercise is General Yngve Odlo. The exercises will last until April 1, during which time, NATO will practice amphibious landings, aircraft support, and the logistics of arctic warfare utilizing allied forces from a number of different countries.

Cold Response 2022
Image taken from Cold Response 2016.

Cold Response is a training exercise for NATO countries to figure out how they would properly respond to Article 5 – the stipulation of the NATO charter that states an attack on one NATO country must be replied to with the entirety of NATO getting involved (If you’ll remember, this is how World War 1 started. International treaties kept bringing more and more countries into the fight.).

Norway is a NATO member. This is the largest military exercise to take place within Norway since The Cold War ended.

(Good time to check out our free QUICKSTART Guide on emergency evacuations?)

Things that don’t make sense about Cold Response 2022.

For starters, General Odlo invited the Russians to monitor the exercise if they would like. Everybody knows that the entire reason that NATO exists at the moment is to fight against Russia. So, why would you tell the people you are training to fight against, “Hey, would you like to come and take copious notes on how we plan to fight against you if you invade the northern countries of our alliance?”

Russia was actually given thorough information on all of the drills that NATO members were going to engage in throughout the area to prevent “unnecessary conflict.” Odlo told Admiral Aleksandr Moiseev, the Commander of the Russian Northern Fleet, about the continued plans for Cold Response 2022 – despite the absolutely terrible timing – back in January, well before the war went kinetic.

Perhaps even stranger is that Odlo has apparently regularly Skyped Moiseev for years. Skype just doesn’t seem like the most secure of means for two nations to communicate. Particularly for military commanders.

Cold Response 2022
Image of a M1A1 Abrams tank painted for the sands of Iraq practicing Arctic warfare in Cold Response 2016.

Why invite your enemy to watch you train on how you’re going to fight your enemy? And why did Russia turn down the invitation to monitor the training exercise? I have zero doubt that they’ll still be keeping an eye on things in Norway via satellite, surveillance plane, signals intelligence, and more, but it is strange that they didn’t want to have a public presence at the event.

While the exercise has been planned long before the Ukraine war ever began, it is interesting that this is the largest Cold Response exercise the world has ever seen. The timing of this could not be more suspicious.

And out of all the countries to choose to utilize Cold Response, why pick the country that has a border with Russia?  There is currently a war going on between Ukraine and Russia. What stroke of genius led NATO to still conclude that running a “military exercise” (I’ve heard that line before) was a good idea right there, right now?

Iceland is a NATO member. Canada is as well. It seems to me that these would be less “combative” places to hold the drill if it was still to be held, rather than 130 miles from Russia. Perhaps it’s the logistics of moving thousands of men and millions of tons of equipment by sea? At the very least, couldn’t this have taken place much further south in Norway?

Odlo stated that Cold Response 2022 was “Not a military operation with an offensive purpose,” as he leads a military training exercise with amphibious landings in a NATO country with a border against Russia. These amphibious landings aren’t anything new to the exercise, but, again, the timing of this is atrocious.

The Nordic countries are a potential hot zone.

On March 2, 2022, a day after a Russian helicopter violated Japanese airspace, four Russian jets violated Swedish airspace, leading to Sweden sending its own jets up into the air.

Now, you have polls showing that more and more people amongst the Norse populations are culturing the notion that their countries should join NATO as well (resulting in even more NATO expansion). This discussion has seemingly increased ever since the Ukraine war has kicked off.

In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted out (you have to love how men of war now send their messages  by ‘tweets’) that any attempt by Sweden or Finland to join NATO will be responded to with “serious military and political repercussions.” We’ve seen how that played out with Ukraine’s talk of joining NATO. Do you think that the Nordic countries would be spared?

This is a region of the world to pay attention to at the moment.

It’s hard to look at Cold Response 2022 and think this is a good location at the moment. It could be argued that the timing is perfect – NATO troops getting a last chance to iron out the wrinkles of their military alliance – but it is difficult for me to see why one would want to choose such an inflammatory location at the moment.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Is there more to the story here? Is there more you can add to the conversation? Let us know in the comments below.

About Jeff

Jeff Thompson is an avid fisherman who likes to spend time sailing on his boat and reading while at sea.


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  • It’s getting clearer by the day that NWO is going to take this all the way to WW3. Prep accordingly…

  • The article is confusing. In the beginning it states that Norway is already a member of NATO. Towards the end, it implies that there will be tension if Norway attempts to join NATO.

  • FYI. NATO was started in Nazi Germany,directly after WW2. NATO has violated agreement after agreement not to expand. Think about that for a hot minute.I say NATO needs to be eliminated,and the nations that joined need to return to being independent nations. ‘Nuff said?

    • Your Right! No one every took George Washington’s or Eisenhower’s advice and warnings! And here we are… Long Live the Hegemony! (or the “fighter’s if you want a Dune reference).

    • NATO needs to be strong… but it needs to stop expanding east. They also need to not start ww3… but not let Putin dictate what they do. NATO countries beyond the US NEED to start increasing defence budgets and pulling more weight…

  • Dear Jeff
    Great article, thank you!!

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    Please search Pole Shift on YouTube

    • Indeed. This magnetic shift has been causing measurable navigation issues for the past few years. The 5 year update of the World Magnetic Model was originally due in 2020, but the U.S. Military asked for it to be performed in 2019 because the shift has been accelerating. I also remember reading an article recently about certain civilian airlines that regularly fly closer to the artic region being negatively impacted by this.

      The Earth is basically a spinning magnet and it shields us from a whole lot of solar and galactic radiation. It’s conceivable that a dramatic enough magnetic shift could result in sections of the planet being uninhabitable due to that lack of radiation protection. Specifically, it could result in additional radiation hitting parts of the planet that it doesn’t currently hit because of the protection we get from the magnetic field. Life as we know it could dramatically change – especially when it comes to all those modern day electronics we all seem to rely on so much (well, some people do, but maybe not those who regularly read this discussion forum!)

  • I think that the Russians should be aware that NATO is prepared to defend its members. I am not sure that Putin or China really cares. I think Ukraine and any other nation, Norway and Sweden should be allowed to join. The world needs to know that these nations are ready and willing to prevent military aggressions like the Russians are doing.

    • Nice troll comment. The US, via NATO, has been poking, prodding and antagonizing Russia for years and has violated agreement after agreement not to expand eastward towards Russia’s border. It has also been placing missles in Ukraine and arming Ukraine to the teeth. Yet you’re focused on “Russia’s aggression?”

      Get lost, you putz.

      • “Yet you’re focused on ‘Russia’s aggression?’”

        for some groups, any opposition to them is evil and aggression against them.

        not exaggerating. that’s their morality and they believe it with all their heart.

  • Hey,
    My Son is in Marines 3/6 and this happens every year at this time anyway, so don’t read more into it then there is. He’s been doing this training for years now, so this goes one every year and they use it for cold weather training. He hates it because it’s super cold but it does allow them to learn how to fight and survive in super cold weather.

    Again, I want to point out, this is nothing new so don’t believe all the BS in the news. In fact, I can’t watch any news on TV. Within the first 2 sentences, the lies begin. All American people need to wake up. Your Enemy is US Gov

  • You must mean Finland because Norway is between 550 and 600 miles away from the Russian border as the crow flies. Finland is right up against the Russian border.

  • Nothing to see here…
    Clearly our fear of the might of Russian Military has been grossly overblown. Things our military does as routine planning and execution elude the Russians. Our planning and logistics while ridiculously complicated at first blush are “old hat” for us. Op Orders are not a lot of fun to do, but they lay everything out. I always took this for granted when I was “participating,” but we clearly know how to do it. The Russians….not so much. But they have a lot of nukes so…
    Keep in mind we also do this kind of planning and training with our NATO “allies” so they are also pretty good at doing it.
    As for for the Russians…”Quantity has its own Quality.” and/or “Get there the fastest with the mostest.”
    BTW…for you armor and equipment aficionados notice the vehicles? Should make you go, “hmmmm.” Seeing a lot of older gear; tanks and APC’s. Yes I am seeing some of their latest and greatest too, but me thinks they don’t have as much of the new stuff as we have all been lead to believe. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you know how to use it (lack of training/maintenance).
    If a “Western” army did this same operation, with the same numbers as the Russians have, this would have been over already.
    And it also appears they are suffering from the same issues with the latest younger generations as we are; “will to fight?”
    Dare I say our “Military Industrial Complex” has “stoked” the fires on all of this? Surely not! What would they have to gain in doing that?

    • InTheBooniesTX,
      I did a TRUE-EX in a major metropolitan US city for a week to get 22MEU SOC certified. As usual, people freaked out about it, military training to take US civilians prisoner, operations in the US etc. We do it every year, in a different city. Nothing to get excited about.
      First weekend of the month, UH-60s, CH-47, even LongBows fly over us. The NG are going to training.

      Read more than a few reports Putin and or his generals thought it would be a 24-48hr operation, roll into Kiev with no resistance and be done with it. Hence the logistical supply chain did not expect/ramp up for a prolonged conflict.
      That did not quite work out that way. Best laid plans are only as good as first contact.
      And, as you note, older equipment being used. Also read units of conscripts used, not their best trained/SOF.
      However, in the fog of war, it is hard to tell what is accurate information and what is propaganda.

      • You’re getting false information about the “24-48 hour operation” hooey. That’s BS. If Russia wanted this to be a quick op, they would’ve used a lot more firepower and really bombed the hell out of Kiev and other cities. Instead, they’ve opted for surgical strikes, some of which have unfortunately hit civilian targets because the “brave and valiant” Ukrainian army (or whatever it is) has been setting up shop in schools, hospitals and other civilian locations and firing on the Russians from those locations. Talk about bravery in action! They’re using their own people as pawns in the propaganda war they’re really fighting, then crying “no fair” when the Russians blow up the hospital or school from which they’re firing.

        Go watch a Col. MacGregor interview. Incredibly, they’re still up on YouTube. He’ll give you the straight skinny as to what’s happening over there, not the Western propaganda.

    • InTheBooniesTX: I’m beginning to think that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a trap for NATO. That it is designed to give NATO a false sense of security before the clenched fist is revealed.

      First of all, the Soviet Union never fell. It just set up an elaborate Potemkin Village. The corollary is that we never “won the Cold War”. Our leaders and peoples wanted to get fooled. They were tired of the cold war. They didn’t want to keep spending on weapons. They wanted to crow “We won the Cold War!”

      Hitler and his generals thought that the Soviet Union would be a pushover after seeing how the Soviets stumbled in the Winter War against Finland. That time I don’t think that was deliberate, the Soviets genuinely thought they would win. But I can see that this time the Soviets are deliberately showing weakness so that NATO won’t get too alarmed. After all, they don’t want to scare NATO into a crash program of rearming. Like all fascist regimes, the Soviets/Russians want more conquests, and they see Ukraine as the first stepping stone. They will bring out their crack troops when they attack NATO. They will also bring out their nukes.

      • Hmmm…I just don’t think so. I saw some interesting combat footage and what struck me was the complete lack of situational awareness and training. We always talked about finding our “battle rhythm” when we started our operations on the ground. Active Duty units fall into it quicker that Guard Units. It’s a product of training and a solid NCO core. Especially in the Corps! I watched an armored column clearly not traveling with a mindset on combat. Their reaction to contact was so poor I couldn’t believe it! Near ambush… turn into it and assault through. Not these guys…clearly that had overwhelming fire capabilities, but only one out of several vehicles even fired. Drop dismounts and close with enemy! (That’s what we would have done) Especially with the numbers these guys had! Traveling in combat, in column, possible contact, turret rotation of vehicles, scouting, screening elements, etc. Fundamentals for US mechanized infantry, but did not see anything even close. And as far as the logistics…we do contingency planning if we run ahead of the logistics tail. Not tooting our horn , but Western Armies are put together differently. Really thought the Russians would commit their better units, but maybe there really aren’t any. Not too many Chechnya veterans probably around anymore. They’d “get it.” As far as not pounding everything flat…well they did in the second Chechnya war because of what happened in the first one. And it’s Ukraine and not Chechnya…different people who most Russians don’t hate. Chechnya’s terrorists who blew up a school…instant “hate.”

    • Russia also used quite a bit of their modern equipment in Syria for the past few years….especially aircraft….I suspect they also have a spares issue, and some vehicles are sitting around waiting for parts. Also, T-72s and other similar vintage armor are quite old, and from the pictures, it seems like quite a few of them were put into operation for this effort.

  • First, Norway has been a member of NATO since its founding in 1949. Second if this drill was planned well in advance of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, why would NATO back down from conducting the drill? That would be a sign of fear and weakness — not a good move when facing a bully.

  • Why is he talking to his Russian counterpart? He might be thinking about Able Archer 83 and wants to prevent a repeat by keeping the Russians in the loop. Able Archer was a near thing.

  • I was looking in old emails to see if I ever signed up for the evacuation guide, and found Brandon Turbeville’s 04/14/20 article “Meanwhile, WW3 May Be Brewing While We’re Distracted”. Interesting observation about US/Russia tension in Syria a couple paragraphs before the Covid/Spanish Flu discussion: “The situations have become increasingly tense, with some unconfirmed reports of a fist-fight breaking out between American and Russian forces. Ironically, this is the first direct clash of the two world powers if the reports are true.” This apparently led to US forces shooting a Syrian teenager who was protesting their presence by throwing rocks. Look, I’m a war-time veteran and love our military, but our elected and HR-hired leaders are causing problems all over the world, and I’m not onboard with sending our blood and treasure to advance an unacceptable agenda. These exercises are carried out all over the world. I participated in several throughout Asia. The timing of this one is unfortunate, but canceling it or postponing isn’t a good option. Russia knew this was scheduled when they went into Ukraine. I lean towards Russia in the Russia/Ukraine conflict, and have to ask why they chose this time to invade. Seems like a bunch of dumbasses running things everywhere.

  • Ok, calm down everybody. First off, Cold Response was scheduled months in advance and is a yearly exercise. Secondly, it is NOT unusual for the Russians to be invited to view it. During the Cold War Soviets were invited to view our REFORGER exercises which were done to prepare us for war in Europe. I know this to be a fact. I was part of such exercises while in Europe.As to why the Russians turned down the invite, you have to ask them. Maybe they’re busy elsewhere. Really, Jeff, your not helping by your dramatic flourishing.

    • Sylvia is correct. The Open Skies Treaty is another example, designed to help ensure mutual understanding of what each other is doing to minimize the possibility of an accidental incident triggering something larger. For those unfamiliar with it, there is a lot of information on the Internet about it that is accurate.

  • Why would NATO invite Russian observers to the NATO exercise? The same reason Obama invited both the Red Chinese and the Russians to observe our electrical grid vulnerabilities during the US GridEx 1 and GridEx 2 exercises during the Barry years. Nothing like allowing the enemy to observe your vulnerabilities. But why? It makes it easier for your enemy to take down your electrical grid prior to invasion. In NATO’s case, to show your enemy its vulnerabilities in case of armed conflict.

    This is the world we live in. Stupid is as stupid does…

    • Our adversaries, especially China, have been in our grid for a lot longer than most people realize – even before the GridEx exercises started. As far as I know, participation in the exercise is voluntary, by invitation only, and results are not turned into mandatory actionable requirements. Large scale exercises certainly can be useful. However, some consider GridEx exercises to be a paper tiger in a jungle.

  • Cold Response, Sea Breeze…Russia already knows how and when NATO is going to do anything. It’s their neighborhood. So what’s the point of attendance, when they know everything?

    That’s what Vladimir Putin’s message is to NATO. After all, he took out a merc training camp in Ukraine–but very near the Polish border. And the US/EU/NATO could only squawk like a chicken running around the barnyard to escape the butcher’s blade.

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