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    Building cohesion

    Headquarters Multinational Division North East started 2020 on a highnote following the celebration of the command’s first anniversary. On 29 January, a new chapter in the security of NATO’s eastern flank was opened when the Lithuanian IRON WOLF Brigade and the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade became affiliated with the command following the signing of an Act of Affiliation in Vilnius, Lithuania. While Multinational Division North East had a relationship with these brigades since 2017, this Act of Affiliation assigned the brigades to the command in order to train and act together to ensure the security of the Suwałki Gap. “Just as the Fulda Gap could be defended during the Cold War, the Suwałki Gap can and will be defended, too,” Lithuanian Army Colonel Darius Vaičikauskas, the Headquarters’ Chief of Staff asserted in an interview he gave to the Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT in 2020. While the brigades technically remain under the command and control of their respective host nations, Multinational Division North East has worked to increase cooperation and further interoperability between itself and the brigades. And this is exactly what the command has done; working to not only build the cooperation between the brigades but also their ability to work together seamlessly in a combat environment. This has proven successful and strengthened the relationship and integration between NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Groups in Lithuania and Poland with their respective Host Nation Defence Forces.

    Exercises in full swing

    This can be seen in three major training events that were conducted in 2020. BULL RUN-12 in June, DZIK-20 in October and exercise IRON WOLF in November. During the last, the command assumed its role as divisional headquarters for the brigade and its subordinate units. The main objective was to train and assess the ability to plan and complete defensive actions as well as to ensure interoperability in joint operations. In this defensive training exercise, the IRON WOLF Brigade was able to train together with NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and IRON WOLF’s subordinate eFP Battle Group Lithuania.
    In October, the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade successfully completed its Combat Readiness Evaluation. Soldiers from the Division Headquarters as well as eFP Battle Group Poland participated in the certification exercise. Together they operated as one unit – just as they would in a crisis situation – deepening the cooperation between all three elements.
    Another significant exercise showcasing the growth of the Division and its units was BULL RUN-12, a regularly occurring exercise aimed at validating eFP Battle Group Poland’s ability to move units over a long distance in order to conduct defensive operations as well as at increasing interoperability of the participating troops while demonstrating the solidarity amongst NATO Allies. The Battle Group trained alongside their higher headquarters, the 15th Mechanized Brigade and units from the Polish Army’s 16th Pomeranian Mechanized Division, Poland’s 1st Territorial Defence Brigade. They were supported by Polish MI-24, W-3 helicopters and F-16 aircrafts. In total, almost 2,000 soldiers and over 5,000 vehicles took part. This exercise demonstrated the strength of the Alliance and the ability of not only the Division but also Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE) to ensure security along NATO’s eastern flank. “One of our greatest strengths as NATO Regional Land Component Command is our constant readiness. BULL RUN-12 has proved that our forces are well-integrated, interoperable and ready at all times,” said LGEN Sławomir Wojciechowski, Commander MNC NE, during his visit to BULL RUN-12 in June.

    Accomplishments and plans

    Today, Multinational Division North East coordinates activities of the Lithuanian IRON WOLF and Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade as well as their subordinate enhanced Forward Presence Battle Groups. These tasks consist of the management of training and increasing situational awareness in the region. Moreover, the Headquarters is to be ready to carry out collective defence operations in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. As the Division celebrated its second anniversary on 6 December 2020, it was a chance to look back and reflect on the past year. 2020 has been one of growth for the command, with the Division striving to operate at a continually higher state of preparedness and readiness. The end goal is that every unit in our Division – from NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Groups to the host nation brigades – can act together in an effective and organized manner.



    Date Taken: 04.14.2021
    Date Posted: 05.02.2021 11:24
    Story ID: 395382
    Location: ELBLAG, PL 

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