Monthly Archives: March 2021

U.S. Air Force in NATO Exercise Trident 2021

With the aim of of fortifying alliances and enhancing interoperability among the NATO allies and partners nations, the annual NATO Baltic region exercise Trident was executed from 15-19 of March. 

As every year the U.S Air Force has been the indispensable components of this training event since the start of this exercise. This year the U.S Aircraft from the 492nd and 493rd Fighter Squadrons, and a number of Airmen from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, took part in the Trident 2021. 

  • The core of Trident 2021 was to signify and expand the operational concept of the Agile Combat Employment (ACE), the U.S Air Force highlighted.

“The exercise was an incredible success,”  “The team overcame every challenge we faced and achieved every objective for the exercise.” explained Captain Aaron Hieronymus, 429nd Fighter Squadron weapons and tactics flight commander. ©U.S Air Force Europe and Africa/ Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte. March 22,2021.

 

 

U.S 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagles fly back to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, from  Estonia after completion of Baltic Trident March 19, 2021  

 

See more on NATO Trident:  U.S solidifies NATO, allied partnership at Trident Juncture 2015

NATO Secretary General briefs on exercise Trident Juncture 2018

News from:  U.S KFOR Regional Command East                   NATO-KFOR

Acknowledgment: Image by U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte, March 2021.

By Editor in Chief 

Former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen on U.S role in the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S leadership in the World by former PM of Denmak and former  Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen

News from Denmark mission to NATO                    News from US mission to NATO 

Special Edition Interview with NATO Deputy Spokesperson, the Hon. Mr. Piers Cazalet,

 

Interview with NATO Deputy Spokesperson, the Hon. Mr. Piers Cazalet, conducted by Editor in Chief

 

 

 

Sir,  it is a great  honor to have you in this interview. Thank you very much indeed for accepting it.

Q 1:  With respect to NATO 2030, can you discuss the key elements identified and expounded in the meetings of the Defense Ministers at NATO Headquarters, 17-18 February 2021?

NATO Deputy Spokesperson, Mr. Piers Cazalet: Thank you for this opportunity to speak to U.S Europe World Affairs. The meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in February was the first with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. It represented an important milestone in our preparations for our summit later this year.

As for the NATO 2030 initiative launched by Secretary General Stoltenberg, it is informed by two fundamental premises. First: in the current historical juncture we have a unique opportunity to open a new chapter in relations between Europe and North America. Second: the number and scope of global challenges are such that no country and no continent can tackle them alone. Ultimately, the goal of the NATO 2030 initiative is to make NATO fit for the future.

Under the NATO 2030 initiative, Secretary General Stoltenberg has put forward a number of ambitious proposals. They cover key areas.

    • Strengthen our commitment to deterrence and defence, by providing incentives to Allies to contribute more capabilities, and ensure fairer burden sharing;
    • Raise our level of ambition when it comes to resilience, which is our first line of defence;
    • Boost transatlantic cooperation on defence innovation, so that NATO keeps its technological edge;
    • Improve our ability to train and build capacity in NATO partner countries, because this is a more sustainable way to contribute to stability in our neighbourhood, and to fight terrorism;
    • Enhance political coordination among Allies, so that NATO can consolidate itself as a platform for consultation and coordination, on more issues and in more formats;
    • Strengthen our political and practical cooperation with like-minded democracies around the world, so that we can do more to protect the rules-based order, which is undermined by countries that do not share our values, like Russia and China;
    • Bolster our efforts to address the security implications of climate change, notably by reducing vulnerabilities in and emissions from the military sector.
    • Start work on updating NATO’s Strategic Concept, in order to address existing and emerging challenges, recommit to our values, and reinforce the bond between Europe and North America.

Overall, the recent meetings of NATO Defence Ministers represented a great start to our discussion to build a substantial and forward-looking agenda for the NATO summit and to secure a more peaceful and prosperous future through a strong transatlantic Alliance.   

Q 2: Security challenges have been recorded by NATO as counter terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missile defense, cyber defense, improvised explosive devices, energy security, environment, hybrid threats. Under the NATO alliance setting, could you elaborate on Hybrid threats and Cyber defense, as they seem quite related?

NATO Deputy Spokesperson, Mr. Piers Cazalet: Cyber threats are becoming more frequent, complex and destructive. NATO takes this threat very seriously, and we are constantly stepping up our cyber defences. NATO protects its own IT networks from cyber-attacks 24 hours a day. The Alliance has also created a new Cyberspace Operations Centre. NATO cyber experts actively share information, including through our Malware Information Sharing Platform. Furthermore, NATO has cyber rapid reaction teams on standby to assist Allies; and every year, cyber defenders from across the Alliance test their skills in Cyber Coalition, NATO’s biggest cyber defence exercise. Allies are also bolstering their national cyber defences through NATO’s Cyber Defence Pledge.

We must keep strengthening our cyber defences as we learn from recent attacks. NATO and the EU have been cooperating closely on cyber security for years; and our cyber experts exchange information and warnings in real-time, keeping us all safer.

With respect to hybrid threats, at the Brussels Summit in 2018, NATO Leaders agreed to establish Counter Hybrid Support Teams to assist Allies in preparing for and responding to this kind of threat. If requested by an Ally, a team of experts can be deployed to support national efforts in variety of areas, including cyber defence, energy security, counter-terrorism, civil preparedness or strategic communications.

I would like to highlight two more points. First: having a strong military is fundamental to our security, but strong militaries depend on strong societies. NATO is playing an important role in this respect, including by setting minimum resilience standards for Allies; and looking to the future, we need to do even more. We need a broader, more integrated and better coordinated approach to resilience, with concrete national targets – for communications, including 5G and undersea cables, and energy and water supplies; and a joint assessment of any vulnerabilities.

Countries like China are investing strategically in ports and airports, and our telecommunication networks remain vulnerable to attacks from the outside, and compromise from the inside. So we must continue to build up our resilience; and we welcome that resilience is an area where we work closely with the EU; NATO staff have shared with their EU counterparts our updated baseline requirements on resilience. This is also an important part of the NATO 2030 agenda, and Allied leaders will address it at our Summit later this year.

Second: The rapid pace of technological change is a challenge. Artificial intelligence, autonomous weapon systems, big data, and biotech can significantly change our lives; but these developments also present risks, and we must remain at the forefront of these changes to understand what they mean for us. We can no longer take our technological edge for granted. For example, China intends on becoming the world’s leading power in artificial intelligence by 2030, less than 10 years away. 

So we must research, invest in and adopt emerging technologies. NATO plays a key role. It coordinates defence planning among Allies, ensuring we are developing the best technologies. NATO defence ministers recently agreed an implementation strategy to ensure we stay ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative technologies. NATO can also serve as a forum for Allies to consider practical, ethical and legal questions that arise from new technologies. Furthermore, emerging technology is an important topic in our dialogue with the EU.

Q 3: In response to Covid-19 pandemic over the past year, NATO has mobilized to provide tremendous assistance to allied and partner countries. Could you please describe future mitigation and strategies in place?

NATO Deputy Spokesperson, Mr. Piers Cazalet: COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways and it has magnified existing security trends and tensions. There has been a severe economic impact. Supply chains have been interrupted and the digital revolution has been accelerated. At the same time, challenges to our collective security have not disappeared. On the contrary. Russia continues its military activities unabated; ISIS and other terrorist groups are emboldened; we have seen an increase in disinformation; and the rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power.

Against this backdrop, since the start of the pandemic NATO has been addressing two parallel needs. On one hand to stand in solidarity and help each other out. On the other, to prevent this health crisis from turning into a security crisis.

In the first half of 2020, almost half a million troops from NATO militaries have supported civilian efforts, building field hospitals, helping with testing, transporting patients, distributing medical equipment, conducting repatriation, helping with decontamination, making available laboratories and quarantine facilities, establishing triage centres, and supporting border security across the Alliance.

In June 2020, NATO Defence Ministers decided on a new Operations Plan to ensure that the Alliance remains ready to continue helping Allies and partners. We have also established a NATO Pandemic Response Trust Fund to enable us to quickly acquire medical supplies and services. This Fund maintains an established stockpile of medical equipment and supplies to be able to provide immediate relief to Allies or partners in need.

Allied militaries and NATO can also provide help with the rollout of the vaccine, if needed.

Overall, COVID has shown us how unpredictable our world is and why boosting resilience is a key task for NATO. COVID-19 has also shown us that we are stronger and safer when we work together. Europe and North America must continue to stick together. That’s why we need a strong NATO – now, and in the future.

Q 4: In the context of the same subject, I’d like to ask you about the valuable contributions of NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre, and its timely operations.  Please tell us about the center’s founding and essential objectives, and what constitute its primary operational tasks and scope? 

NATO Deputy Spokesperson, Mr. Piers Cazalet: The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) has been playing a crucial role throughout NATO’s response to the Coronavirus crisis. Since the start of the pandemic, it has coordinated requests from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and 18 NATO and partner countries, garnering more than 130 responses in return. Since the beginning of this year, the Centre has coordinated new donations to Allies and partners in need. Most recently, Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro received sets of ventilator supplies to sustain the operation of the ventilators received from NATO’s stockpile earlier in 2020. Additionally, Slokavia donated and delivered four pulmonary ventilators to North Macedonia in response to an urgent request for assistance received in January 2021.

The EADRCC is NATO’s main civil emergency response mechanism. It is active all year round; it operates on a 24/7 basis; and it involves all NATO Allies and partner countries. The Centre functions as a clearing-house system for coordinating both requests and offers of assistance, mainly in case of natural and man-made disasters. Its tasks are carried out in close cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), which retains the primary role in the coordination of international disaster relief operations. Furthermore, its principal function is coordination rather than direction. In the case of a disaster requiring international assistance, it is up to individual NATO Allies and partners to decide whether to provide assistance, based on information received from the EADRCC.

The Centre is located at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. It is staffed by secondees from NATO and partner countries and members of NATO’s International Staff. The Centre liaises closely with UN OCHA, NATO Military Authorities and other relevant international organisations. When a disaster occurs, the EADRCC can temporarily be augmented with additional personnel from NATO and partner delegations to NATO, or NATO’s international civilian and military staff. In addition, the EADRCC has access to national civil experts that can be called upon to provide the Centre with expert advice in specific areas in the event of a major disaster.

In addition to its day-to-day activities and the immediate response to emergencies, the EADRCC conducts large-scale field exercises to improve interaction between NATO and partner countries, as well as between NATO and international organisations. Regular major disaster exercises have been organised in different participating countries to practise procedures, provide training for local and international participants, build up interoperability skills and capabilities and harness the experience and lessons learned for future operations. Since 2000, the EADRCC has conducted on average one large consequence-management field exercise every year and started in 2016 a new set of exercises using virtual reality technology. Virtual reality is a big part of the future and NATO is using it to complement its conventional table-top and field exercises.

News from:  U.S KFOR Regional Command East

 *The Interview is subject to Copyright Law. ©NATO/ U.S Europe World Affairs. 

The V Corps in Poland Made the Long-Awaited U.S Army Presence to be Materialized

With about 635 soldiers on a rotational deployment, the V Corps Headquarters (Forward) was officially inaugurated in November 2020 in Poznan, Poland.  The plan was decided as the  continuation of comprehensive military cooperation between the U.S Army and its counterpart.

“The primary mission of the new forward headquarters will be to conduct operational planning, mission command and oversight of the rotational forces in Europe. It will also provide additional capability to support allies and partners in the region.announced U.S Army in September 2020

“The permanent presence of the US Army in Poland is crucial. American troops will be here permanently, not only occasionally. – The Forward Command of the V Corps is a contribution to security and stability in the region. We will increase our cooperation and we will act hand in hand with our allies from Poland” – highlighted the deputy commander of the 5th Corps,  Maj. Gen. Terrence McKenrick, November 20, 2020 ©MOD of Poland 

Excerpts form the speech of Minister of Defense of Poland during the inauguration ceremony of the V Corps Headquarters Forward in Poznan, Poland, November 20, 2020:

“Cooperation within NATO is the best guarantee of security and stability. We can say that we have become one of the main allies of the USA. Our cooperation is exemplary. We provide security, we not only use the security that other allies give, but we ourselves guarantee security through our participation in the entire system created within NATO – emphasized the minister.
The command will play a key role in the integration of American troops deployed in Poland and the synchronization of their cooperation with the Polish armed forces. This is a real increase in the interoperability of Polish and American troops.”

“This is undoubtedly our common success. It is visible through our very close relations and through our mutual exercises. Together we are stronger”

“The commencement of the operation of the forward command of the V Corps on the territory of the Republic of Poland is the result of the efforts made so far to increase the American military presence in Poland.”  emphasized Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.  November 20, 2020 © Ministry of Defense of Poland 

More related news: 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin with Polish Minister of Defence Mariusz Błaszczak to reinforce the importance of longstanding U.S.-Poland strategic alliance.   U.S Embassy PL

V Corps Headquarters (Forward) in Poland to be located in Poznan   U.S Army

Minister of National Defense of Poland and Lloyd Austin, the US secretary of defense confirmed the development of the intense military cooperation.    MOD of Poland

Acknowledgment : video ©U.S Defense/©V Corps/© Staff Sgt. Scott Longstreet November 11, 2020

By Editor in Chief (Copyrighted material)

An Exclusive Interview with U.S Army Europe and Africa-3 (Part-2)

An exclusive interview with the Spokesperson of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, conducted by Editor in Chief (Part-2)

 

 

Q 4. The Commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, General Cavoli, visited Finland 10-12 January. The event was described in the framework of Army Arctic training. What could be emphasized about this training, and the special relations that exist between the United States and the Finnish Defence Forces? 

U.S Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson: Last month, Gen. Cavoli conducted an official visit with our Finnish partners, to include Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces Gen. Timo Kivinen and Chief of the Finnish Army  Lt. Gen. Petri Hulkko.  These joint meetings reinforced the shared defense goals between these two nations. The U.S. and Finnish joint military partnership was formally solidified when Finland joined the  Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997.  As a fellow Arctic nation, the United States is dedicated to maintaining readiness in the region and training with Finland, an Arctic partner that has vast experience dealing with the challenges of the High North. The U.S. and Finland also coordinate with other Arctic nations on the Arctic Council, ensuring peace and security in the region.

This trip proved invaluable as our Finnish and U.S. military colleagues discussed and observed Arctic military training, and the U.S. leadership gained a broader understanding of the country’s unique and incredible terrain.

Q 5. In November 2020 the Army re-activated its V Corps in Europe, by establishing the  Headquarters in Poland. Was this decision part of enhancing military cooperation between the U.S and Poland?

U.S Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson:  V Corps has a strong and enduring heritage in the European theater, and we are excited to continue that legacy. The V Corps’ history dates back to 1918, when the unit was activated during World War I in combat in France. It was inactivated in 2013, after nearly a century of prestigious service to the U.S. at Wiesbaden’s Schloss Biebrich. 

The new V Corps Forward Headquarters was activated in Poznan, Poland, on Nov. 20, 2020.  Prior to selecting the location for the headquarters, the Army conducted a comprehensive analysis to determine the most suitable location for the headquarters. The factors analyzed included resources such as the facilities’ availability, condition and serviceability; network infrastructure; and transportation proximity.

Q 6. Could you please give us a background picture of the Army V Corps (in Europe). And with its new military setting what critical role it will play within NATO?

U.S Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson: The return of V Corps to Europe enhances security in the region and reassures our NATO allies and partners of the United States’ ironclad commitment to NATO and partner nations. The primary mission of the new forward headquarters will be to conduct operational planning, mission command and oversight of the rotational forces in Europe. It will also provide additional capability to support allies and partners in the region.

The activation of V Corps provides the needed level of command and control, focused on synchronizing U.S. Army, allied and partner nation tactical formations operating in Europe. V  Corps will allow U.S. land forces to support more exercises and training opportunities with our allies and partners, increasing readiness and our ability to deter potential adversaries. 

Overall, the new headquarters strengthens our tactical readiness and increases our ability to employ our forces.

Q 7. Please tell us how the U.S Army Europe and Africa is coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, and how is going ahead with the immunization process?

U.S Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson: 2020 has shown us that no matter how hard we try we can’t predict what will happen. To preserve the safety and readiness of the force and comply with Department of Defense, Department of the Army and host nation directed mitigation measures, U.S. Army Europe and Africa has taken the steps to integrate COVID-19 prevention and protection measures into planning considerations for all exercises.

While COVID-19 impacted our planning timelines for some exercises, we are now able to execute planned exercises with negligible differences. We maximize the use of mitigation techniques such as masks, enhanced sanitation, physical distancing and rotational shift work to ensure readiness. Critical to this endeavor will be the strict COVID prevention and mitigation strategy implemented by U.S. and participating nations. The adjustment of military exercises reflects the reality that we must maintain peak readiness while acting responsibly to prevent the spread of COVID.

In addition, the U.S. government has purchased COVID-19 vaccines and is making them available to the Department of Defense for distribution and administration to DOD personnel. The distribution process is phase-driven to protect our military community from COVID-19 as quickly as possible. As U.S. Army Europe and Africa works through vaccinating our healthcare personnel and first  responders, we are also looking at our highly deployable and mission essential forces here in Europe and our high-risk populations. After that, we’ll be able to focus on our healthy service members, civilians, families, retirees not part of the high-risk population, etc. For more information and resources on U.S. Department of Defense coronavirus-related subjects visit: https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus/

News from:  U.S KFOR Regional Command East               

KFOR Regional Command East Religious Support Teams               NATO-KFOR

*The Interview is subject to Copyright Law.  ©The United States Army Europe and Africa /U.S. Army/U.S. European Command/U.S. Europe World Affairs.com. 

An Exclusive Interview with U.S Army Europe and Africa-3 (Part-1)

An exclusive interview with the Spokesperson of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, conducted by Editor in Chief (Part-1)

 

 

It’s a great pleasure to have you in this interview Sir. Thank you for your time.

Q 1. In November 2020 the department of Army announced to consolidate the U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa into a single Army Service Component Command. What are the immediate and the long-term strategic interests for this consolidation? And please cast a light on the missions of this new (USAREUR-AF) structure?

U.S Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson:  The U.S. Army recently announced the consolidation of U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa into one Army Service Component Command. This is an exciting change, and it’s a change that will allow the U.S. Army to expand its focus and enhance its commitment to both the European and African continents.

This consolidation is an example of how the U.S. Army is modernizing, we are thinking across hemispheres rather than artificially dividing problem sets. But this is not just a consolidation of a headquarters, it’s a consolidation of capabilities across theaters.

The European and African theaters are inextricably linked. Their close geography and economic ties suggest a regional security issue left unchecked could quickly spread between both continents.

The consolidation will also allow greater synchronization for European-centric issues, such as migration from Africa, as well as Africa-centric issues such as operations with NATO allies on the continent.

In addition, this consolidation enables the dynamic shifting of forces and assets from one theater to another, which improves our global and regional contingency response time; and optimizes  command and control of all U.S. land forces.

Our new combined headquarters will provide the administrative backbone and strategic-level guidance for all land forces in both Europe and Africa.

This will enable the Southern European Task Force – Africa, or SETAF-AF, to spend every day  focused on enhancing regional security and stability by working with our African, international and interagency partners.

SETAF-AF will continue direct support to AFRICOM, remain in Italy and retain its current strength of military and civilian personnel. It is responsible for all Army operations and assets in Africa and Italy, to eventually include the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and will focus on its mission as the nucleus of a joint task force for operations on the African continent. Likewise, the newly re-activated V Corps will assume much of the operational and tactical-level command, control and planning functions in Europe. 

V Corps, with a headquarters in Poland, will allow U.S. land forces to support more exercises and training opportunities with our allies and partners, increasing readiness and our ability to deter potential adversaries.

Q 2. Covering 4,000 kilometers, with the participation of 15 NATO states and 2 partner  countries, the U.S-led Defender-Europe-20 was designed as the third-largest military exercise in European continent since the Cold War. What was the core military concept behind this exercise? 

With the challenges of COVID-19 in 2020, how far the Army was able to implement the exercise and achieve its goal?

U.S Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson:  At its heart, DEFENDER-Europe 20 was designed as a deployment exercise to build strategic  readiness in support of the U.S. National Defense Strategy and NATO deterrence objectives. It  clearly demonstrated the U.S.’ steadfast commitment to NATO and our ability and willingness to deploy a large, combat-credible force to Europe to respond to crisis. Furthermore, it demonstrated the unity of the Alliance and strengthened our relationships with our allies and partners across the theater.  

    In October 2019, the U.S. Army announced that 20,000 U.S. Soldiers would deploy to Europe in spring 2020 as part of exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20. In February 2020, equipment and personnel from the U.S. began arriving in Europe. In March, COVID-19 hit and forced major modifications to the exercise in both size and scope. At that time, more than 6,000 Soldiers and 3,000 pieces of equipment had already arrived in Europe.

The U.S. Army Soldiers that arrived in Europe at the end of February and early March were here as part of exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20. Phase I of the modified DEFENDER-Europe 20 was linked exercise Allied Spirit, which took place at Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Poland, June 5-19, with approximately 6,000 U.S. and Polish Soldiers. In Phase II of the modified DEFENDER-Europe 20, a U.S.-based combined arms battalion conducted an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise to Europe July 14 and Aug. 22.

 Q 3. Will there be the continuation of Defender Europe in 2021 and beyond?

U.S Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson: Yes, DEFENDER-Europe 20 was the first of what we anticipate will become an annual exercise. We are currently planning for DEFENDER-Europe 21, which will focus on building operational readiness and interoperability with a greater number of NATO allies and partners over a wider area of operations.

DEFENDER-Europe 21 is still in the planning stages. We anticipate a public announcement in March, with activities beginning in April and the bulk of activities occurring in May and June.

To be continued in part-2 early next week 

News from:  U.S KFOR Regional Command East             

KFOR Regional Command East Religious Support Teams                     NATO-KFOR

Acknowledgment: Image ©U.S Army/CW5 Pennie Temmerman and Kara Stetson, March 12, 2020

The Interview is subject to Copyright Law. ©The United States Army Europe and Africa /U.S. Army/ U.S. European Command/U.S. Europe World Affairs.