Multi-National Training Becoming Common in Europe: European armies have been training together with increasing frequency. A good example is the recent experience of Italys alpine troops Brigade. In approximately the year from February of 1997 through January 1998 elements of the Tridentina Alpini Briagde participated in nearly a dozen training exercises in five different countries, including three which are not even members of NATO. Personnel involved ranged from individual officers or NCOs to entire companies, and, in one instance, part of a battalion HQ.
10 21 Feb 97. One NCO each from the 6th Alpini and the 5th Mountain Artillery underwent a mountain training course with the Swiss Army at Andermatt.
1 7 Jul. One platoon of the 11th Alpini exercised with the German mountain troops near Berchtesgaden.
9 Jul - 9 Aug. Alpine warfare specialists from the Tridentina Alpine Brigade conducted training course for elements of the Maltese Armed Forces on the islands of Malta and Gozo.
13 20 Jul. A company of the 6th Alpini participated in a march across the Bavarian Alps with German mountain troops. 14 25 Jul. A company of the 11th Alpini conducted exercises with Spanish mountain troops in the Pyrenees near Jaca.
28 Aug. 5 Sep. One NCO from the 11th Alpini took part in an Austrian mountain training course at Absam in the Tyrol. 1 15 Dec. The HQ medical detachment of the Tridentina Alpine Brigade undertook alpine training with mountain elements of the German army
10 19 Dec. A platoon of the 5th Alpini trained with German mountain units nearly Mittenwald.
13 30 Jan 98. Two NCOs from the 5th Alpini took two different specialized training courses with elements of the Swiss Army at Andermatt.
Since the Tridentina comprises only three battalions of infantry and one of artillery, plus a logistical support battalion, about 10-percent of the brigade engaged in cooperative training outside of Italy in the course of this one year. And since foreign personnel regularly trained with elements of the Tridentina, the total number of troops exposed to training with foreign personnel is considerable. Such training continues. During 1998 there were a roughly equivalent number of exercises, in ons instance involving elements of the the HQ of the Trientina Brigade, which engaged in a command post exercise with German troops. This cooperative training not only improves the skills of the personnel involved, by exposing them to the doctrine and practices of other armies, but also strengthens the ties that link the European countries together. Exercises with neutral powers, such as Switzerland, Austria, and Malta suggest the increasing integration of these nations into a united Europe. In this regard, the Maltese connection is of particular importance, Libya has implicitly laid claim to ownership of the island, which has defense guarantees from Italy and several other NATO states. --A.A. Nofi