NATO War Game Tests Intelligence- Sharing

ORLAND AIR BASE, Norway—A war game the North Atlantic Treaty Organization played recently in a Norwegian fiord about 650 miles from the Russian border has a familiar ring: Tensions between two countries explode into military conflict after one supports an insurgency in disputed territory.

NATO officials say any parallels to the situation in Ukraine are a coincidence, as the 10-day exercise concluding this week was planned for more than a year. Instead the drill is part of far-reaching internal changes NATO is making at a time it is grappling with the Ukraine crisis, its most significant test since the Cold War.

Around 2,000 military and civilian personnel from more than 20 nations belonging to NATO tested new systems for sharing sensitive intelligence and surveillance data that can be used in the heat of battle. The aim is to help the 65-year-old alliance make one of the most important shifts in its history—depending less on the U.S. military for intelligence and other military capabilities.

NATO has responded to the crisis in Ukraine, which isn’t a member of the alliance, by stationing more fighter jets in Eastern European NATO member nations and by monitoring the activity of Russian planes near Ukrainian airspace, using planes stationed at Orland.

Inability to share intelligence effectively among member countries has been a big problem, NATO officials say. In April 2011, it was the cause of a mistaken air strike by NATO forces that killed Libyan rebels NATO was trying to protect as they overthrew Moammar Gadhafi.

The rebels had captured Libyan armored vehicles. There was intelligence that indicated the tanks had been captured by rebels, but it ..

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