NATO leaders worked their way through a fictitious Middle East crisis Wednesday in Colorado Springs, to explore ways of using a new rapid-reaction force with global reach.
At Schriever Air Force Base the defense ministers were asked to respond to a fictional group of civilians being threatened by terrorists on an island in the Red Sea, and the developments that followed.
NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said afterward that the
exercise showed alliance leaders that crises that start small can
finish big, and with unexpected consequences. He says it also
showed that NATO lacks troops that are ready for action on short
The exercise kicked off two days of meetings of defense
ministers and military chiefs of the 19 North Atlantic Treaty
Organization member countries -- plus the seven countries due to
join NATO in May: Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania,
Latvia and Estonia.