Acting SecAF, Nordic Ministers of Defense sign Letter of Intent strengthening US-Nordic defense ties Published Feb. 18, 2021 Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Acting Secretary of the Air Force John P. Roth and the Ministers of Defense of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden signed a Letter of Intent demonstrating continued support for the Arctic Challenge Exercise, one of Europe’s largest tactical air exercises. The signed Letter of Intent advances the Department of the Air Force Arctic Strategy unveiled July 21, 2020, by deepening defense cooperation and increasing interoperability between the five Arctic nation signatories. “We have a common vision and shared set of values in upholding security and stability in the Arctic region,” Roth said. “Strong, enduring relationships with our allies and partners are essential to safeguarding peace in the region.” Conducted biennially, ACE serves to amplify scenario-based defensive training and interaction between ally and partner nations. Interoperability is especially critical in the Arctic due to the challenging terrain, limited access, and the low density of domain awareness assets. “The Arctic Challenge Exercise demonstrates the integral role combined exercises play in deepening ties with our allies and partners,” said Kelli L. Seybolt, deputy under secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs. “These activities simultaneously strengthen cooperation, enhance interoperability and support collective defense and deterrence.” In addition to Roth, Denmark Minister of Defense Trine Bramsen, Finland Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen, Norway Minister of Defense Frank Bakke Jensen and Sweden Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist signed the Letter of Intent. Hosted by Sweden, ACE 2019 featured 140 aircraft and 4,000 military personnel from nine participating nations, including the United States, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. ACE 2021 is scheduled for June 2021.