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    Immediate Response 14: Regional security through NATO partnerships

    Immediate Response 14: Regional security through NATO partnerships

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Caleb Barrieau | Maj. Scotty Autin, an officer with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, talks with his...... read more read more

    POSTONJA, SLOVENIA

    08.25.2014

    Courtesy Story

    Joint Multinational Readiness Center

    POSTOJNA, Slovenia — Soldiers from 11 NATO member and partner nations have gathered here in the Southern Alps of Slovenia for Exercise Immediate Response 14.

    Just under 1,000 soldiers are going through the paces of responding to a regional crisis while in fact adding another chapter to NATO partnership building and in this case stronger regional security in the Balkan region of Europe.

    Slovenia is co-host of this annual event with its neighbor Croatia and the exercise is taking place at various sites in the two countries.

    “This is the biggest exercise for the Slovenian armed forces since 1998,” said Maj. Vojko Cucek from the host Slovenian 1st Brigade. He added, “All of the procedures and knowledge we have we can test in this environment, we can compare our knowledge with the knowledge of the other nations.”

    Slovenia has one of the smallest armies in NATO, numbering just over seven thousand in their active component. But since their NATO membership, in 2004, they have been contributors to NATO missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo and elsewhere.

    Cucek cites building friendships as a primary goal for his soldiers during this two week event and talks proudly of hoping to build a Balkan task force with the other nations of the region.

    “We are trying to see more in the future than in the past.”

    The U.S. Army Europe and the U.S. Air Force Europe are major players here and partnering with the Slovenians, at the brigade level, are members of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (A) from Vicenza, Italy. Working side by side the American airborne soldiers say they feel very comfortable working with the Slovenians.

    “We have found they partner well with us in joint doctrine discussions and come together quickly as a NATO staff,” said Maj. Scotty Autin.

    He added, “Our partnership reassures them [Slovenians] that we are here and want to support the NATO mission.”

    The 173rd has soldiers in nine countries right now which Autin said can be a challenge but also affords his soldiers a great perspective of the world and its complexities.

    “The 173rd gets a firsthand view of the importance of strong national and regional relationships as we see the rise of greater regional threats,” he said.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.25.2014
    Date Posted: 08.26.2014 03:51
    Story ID: 140374
    Location: POSTONJA, SI

    Podcast Hits: 0

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