As defending its territory and protecting its citizens is NATO's core mission, the Alliance has been consistently stepping up its presence in Northeastern Europe. One of the key means of demonstrating that NATO remains solemnly committed to collective defense and global security is strengthening the position of the Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast.
The value is in the preparation
It is no exaggeration to state that "Saber Strike 2017" (SASE17) is the most significant milestone in the Corps' eighteen-year history. In June 2017, the Headquarters stationed in Szczecin will officially prove its ability to take command of four division-sized units and to serve as a Land Component Command in the most challenging environment of high-intensity warfare.
A group of evaluators from the Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) has started analyzing how the process of raising the level of readiness is carried out.
Understandably, an exercise of such complexity is not a one day event. Nor is the evaluation of this detailed and multifaceted process. Therefore, it will be taken in three phases.
"The full team has approximately 45-50 personnel but that includes the coordinators and the supervisors." – clarifies Major Hamilton Ashworth from LANDCOM (G7 CREVAL OPS).
The Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) is primarily responsible for conducting the Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL). Nonetheless, its expert will be supported by the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) and NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC-Italy). As the Crisis Response Planning (CRP) for SASE17 has already begun, the evaluators started their work with setting the scene for so called in-barracks inspection, which will gain full speed in two weeks.
"We don't step into this blindly. There's a lot of preparation on the part of the evaluators with keeping track of the products that are already out there. – says Major Ashworth – Where we are getting to the meat of it is during Phase 1, which is a review of all the documentation of the Headquarters, all of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Instructions (SOIs), examining their policy, which is critical for the integration of the Headquarters in NATO Operations."
The official Logo by MNC NE for exerxise "Saber Strike 2017".
In a nutshell, the whole evaluation process in each of its three phases is about verifying that the Headquarters is able to fit into NATO's requirements set during the Wales and Warsaw Summits. As the exercise develops, the evaluators will look into more and more criteria that the Headquarters has to meet in order to get certified. To illustrate the amount of work that has to be done on both sides, it is enough to say that there are as many as 1500 criteria that cover all the functional areas of the Headquarters.
"It takes a lot of coordination on many layers. – explains Colonel Dariusz Dobron, Assistant Chief of Staff (ACOS) J10 Division – J10 is a hub collecting everything from our Headquarters and, at the same time, a main point of contact for LANDCOM evaluation team in many areas. An evaluator should have the same understanding as an evaluated unit. The bunch of criteria is so extremely broad that the process has to be coordinated very meticulously."
The bottom line is, there is no goal achieved without a substantial groundwork. "The value is in the preparation." – summarizes Major Ashworth.