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French Air Force Gen. Jean-Paul Palomeros, NATO’s outgoing supreme allied commander transformation, said reinvestment in “operational preparation” has been a continuing priority across the Alliance, even before the Crimea crisis. Trident Juncture 2015, which will take place this fall in locations across Portugal, Spain, and Italy, will test the Alliance’s ability to operate in a “high intensity” crisis. It is the first such event since 2002, said Palomeros, and the culmination of years'​ worth of planning. Even in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Palomeros said the location of the event remained in NATO’s south because of its strategic importance to the Alliance—Spain, Italy, and Portugal are vital partners in NATO’s efforts to build up its Response Force and Very High Readiness Joint Task Force capabilities, which will be validated and tested during the exercise. The event will include some 36,000 troops and 27 of the 28 NATO nations, and is the first of what will be a series of events in the coming years to validate the “operational preparation of our forces” to collectively meet threats, he added.