Even though we are willing to go far to defend our country, we are dependent on NATO. When I joined the Norwegian Armed Forces as a conscript this summer, I never doubted my country’s need for dedicated soldiers. I saw soldiers pushing themselves up from the mud, and holding their ground regardless of pain. Norway is a small country, and our geopolitical position in the north make us vulnerable. That is why we need our allied partners. We want to defend our country and our values, but we cannot do it alone. This week Norway’s main winter exercise, Cold Response, is taking place, and I find myself far away from the muddy workouts at the recruit school. Fifteen thousand soldiers from fourteen nations are participating to practice winter warfare in harsh conditions. With a common language and a general understanding of how to operate together we can support our collective defense. At the recruit school, hard training in the mud reinforced our collective identity and inspired our will to defend our country. Working with our allies in Cold Response, I see that all our allied nations have the same outlook and will to defend ourselves from transnational threats. We are stronger together.