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 Jun 3 2018

"SABER STRIKE 2018" Kicks Off

18,000 troops from 19 different countries will participate in the exercise "Saber Strike 2018" (SbS18) held throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland on 3-15 June. This periodic U.S. Army Europe-led training covers the majority of Headquarters' Multinational Corps Northeast (HQ MNC NE) Area of Operations and is actively supported by the Szczecin-based command as well as NATO.

"Saber Strike 2018" has been designed to enhance readiness and interoperability among the Allies and regional partners. Given its geostrategic location, expertise and high-readiness capabilities, HQ MNC NE took on the role of Higher Control (HICON) for a number of subordinated units participating in SbS18, such as the 1st U.S. Infantry Division, 12th Polish Mechanised Brigade and, last but not least, Multinational Division North-East. The newly established division Headquarters is planned to be fully operational by the end of 2018; it will complete the chain of command that goes from the four enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Groups up to HQ MNC NE. 

This is a significant part of the Alliance's overall mission of deterrence in the Baltic region.

"We use the exercise as an opportunity to coach, mentor and evaluate their ability to conduct multifaceted NATO operations. This is a significant part of the Alliance's overall mission of deterrence in the Baltic region." – says Brigadier General John E. Novalis, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations.  

Operating out of the Initial Command Element set up in the woodlands near Riga, roughly 100 our personnel will fulfil the tasks necessary to efficiently command and control the multinational portions of the exercise. Having reached the highest level of readiness in June 2017, HQ MNC NE is capable of conducting land operations across the full spectrum of conventional, unconventional and hybrid warfare scenarios.

"'Saber Strike 2018' highlights our readiness and capability to deploy anywhere in the region in support of NATO's resolve to this area." – continues General Novalis.  

The key training events of "Saber Strike 2018" will include a convoy by 2nd Cavalry Regiment from Germany to Latvia, air assault operations in several training areas across the exercise, as well as bridge and river crossing operations to support freedom of movement. This year's participating nations come from all over the Euro-Atlantic region: Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"The target value of this large multinational exercise is developing trust between the Allies so we can work together if we are ever called upon during a moment of crisis or instability." – emphasises Colonel Robert Bertrand, Chief of U.S. Army Europe Exercise Programmes.

As working in cohesion with multinational partners is one of NATO's landmark achievements, "Saber Strike 2018" serves as yet another illustration of HQ MNC NE's ability to simultaneously conduct a range of military activities across the Baltic region. Remaining adaptive and ready to meet any security challenges which may arise, HQ MNC NE upholds the commitment of the Alliance to ensure a safe future of its members in the East.

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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U.S. Army Europe-led training covers the majority of Headquarters' Multinational Corps Northeast (HQ MNC NE) Area of Operations.
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HQ MNC NE took on the role of Higher Control (HICON) for a number of subordinated units.
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Entrance of the Initial Command Element built up in the training area in Latvia.

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