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Mar 8 2019

Gaining Cohesion

On 5–6 March, Lieutenant General Sławomir Wojciechowski chaired the 2nd Multinational Corps Northeast Commander's Conference focused on furthering collaboration between the troops deployed by the Alliance to its north-eastern territories. Nearly 60 officials and commanding officers responsible for the efficient functioning of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Groups visited Baltic Barracks to strengthen the link between NATO's newly merged structures.

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Nearly 60 officials and commanding officers responsible for the efficient functioning of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Groups visited Baltic Barracks to strengthen the link between NATO's newly merged structures.
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Commander NFIU Poland, Colonel Artur Bogowicz.
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The first 'wave' of six NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) have been active as of September 1, 2015 and became fully operational ahead of the 2016 Warsaw Summit. The latest NFIUs, in Hungary and Slovakia, have been activated on September 1, 2016.

The two-day conference saw not only the Commanders of the eFP Battle Groups but also the ones being in command of their host nations' brigades, NATO Force Integration Units and of Multinational Division Northeast. The aim was to optimize synergy between all activities related to the development and delivery of capabilities of the new NATO forces in the Baltic region, avoid duplication and ensure their overall effectiveness.

"Your presence here is of exceptional importance, as cooperation, multinationality and inclusion are a fundament of NATO." — said Lieutenant General Sławomir Wojciechowski, Commander Multinational Corps Northeast — "This conference grants us the opportunity to share diverse perspectives and, as a result, develop a common understanding of how to enhance the regional security partnerships."

As indicated by the Commander, the aforementioned process ought to be based on the principles of mission command which advocate unity of effort, trust building and a culture of cooperation. This standpoint was reinforced by Lieutenant General Stuart Skeates, Deputy Commander Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, who strongly advised against looking at the recent NATO activities across the Baltic region in isolation. General Skeates emphasized the importance of a focused approach to keep them linked and cohesive. It concerns the challenge of integrating the full spectrum of forces — from the eFP Battle Groups over the NATO Response Force to the Follow-on Forces — into a system for deterrence, deployment and use. As the eFP consists exclusively of land troops, this makes it imperative that NATO focus on joint enablement. "Our actions must be plugged in and nested in a broader effort." — General Skeates stated.

The development of a new, tailored, regional architecture braced by Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast has been underway since 2014 and covers the area stretching from Estonia to Hungary, encompassing also Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia. Commander MNC NE pointed out:

Deterrence is our main focus. We have troops on the ground and we need to concentrate on them, as they execute our intent. The key to achieving effective command and control comes down to forming an interconnected chain of regional units.

The working week at Baltic Barracks culminated with the 5th NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) Commanders' Conference held on 6–7 of March. The seminar provided an aligned understanding of NFIUs´ roles. While in Szczecin, a great many stakeholders exchanged their views on how the NFIUs can assist HQ MNC NE in strengthening stability across the Baltic region in even more effective ways. To that extent, the NFIUs constitute yet another measure of increasing the speed and strength of NATO's rapid-reaction capability.

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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