Able Archer 83 was a ten-day NATO command post exercise starting on November 2, 1983 that spanned Western Europe, centred on SHAPE's Headquarters situated at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons. Able Archer exercises simulated a period of conflict escalation, culminating in a coordinated nuclear release. The 1983 exercise incorporated a new, unique format of coded communication, radio silences, participation by heads of state, and a simulated DEFCON 1 nuclear alert.
The realistic nature of the 1983 exercise, coupled with deteriorating relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and the anticipated arrival of Pershing II nuclear missiles in Europe, led some in the USSR to believe that Able Archer 83 was a ruse of war, obscuring preparations for a genuine nuclear first strike. This relatively obscure incident is considered by many historians to be the closest the world has come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 The threat of nuclear war abruptly ended with the conclusion of the Able Archer 83 exercise on November 11.
The military of the Netherlands is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix Koninklijke (Royal):
Conscription in the Netherlands was suspended in 1996. All military specialities, except the Submarine service and the Marine Corps, are open to women. The Korps Commandotroepen, the Special Operations Force of the Netherlands Army, is open to women, but because of the extremely high physical demands for initial training, it is found impossible for women to become a commando. The Dutch Ministry of Defence employs 68,000 personnel, including both civilian and military personnel.
Within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, there are small local armed forces on the islands of Aruba (Arumil) and Curaçao (Antmil). These operate under the auspices of the Royal Netherlands Navy and Marines.