While already focusing on the future tasks, General Wojciechowski presented a brief summary of the accomplishments achieved in 2018. "They were demanding, some of them challenging but none of them overwhelming." — stated the Commander in his opening address. Of these, two big exercises took centre stage, especially since they were carried out under deployment conditions. The US-run "Saber Strike" and the Polish-run "Anakonda" have put special emphasis on Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast's capability to execute full-spectrum military operations in a multinational framework.
"Both exercises showed that NATO and its members are fulfilling their promises and are constantly keeping the Baltic region safe and secure. It also highlighted the real spirit of what Multinational Corps Northeast is: capable, ready and adapting." — the General said.
Last year's certification of Headquarters Multinational Division North-East, resulting out of "Anakonda 18", has brought more cohesion to the Allied enhanced Forward Presence (eFP). Thus, as indicated by the Commander, HQ MNC NE aims at boosting relations within the team of its subordinate units. The group has scaled up significantly and now comprises the new Division Headquarters, the eFP Battle Groups, NATO Force Integration Units and Command Support Brigade. General Wojciechowski particularly underlined that no matter how talented we were as individuals, without cooperation we would be a team in name only:
"The team of Multinational Corps Northeast is a team of experts. Each of them has different responsibilities and supports the Corps in his or her own way. Some are closer to us, from others we are a few extra miles away. But it is not the distance that matters. It is the spirit of belonging which is crucial if we want to bring the best out of each of our team members. This is how bonds are strengthened."
Looking ahead, the Commander announced that the year 2019 would be a busy one. With exercise "Griffin Lighting" on the near-term agenda, the Corps will continue to demonstrate its capability to act multifunctionally, both as a Corps HQ and as a regional Land Component Command. Still, General Wojciechowski highlighted the importance of transforming challenges into opportunities for growth:
I prefer to see it as a year of new possibilities and options. A year of getting better, a year of improving ourselves and those with whom we work.
In his concluding remarks, the Commander brought to notice the 20th anniversary of the Corps' foundation, coming up in 2019. Therefore, General Wojciechowski revealed his pride at being in command of the organization which has burgeoned into the highest headquarters of the NATO Force Structure in the Baltic area over the past two decades. As expressed by the General, the mission of safeguarding the people of NATO's East is rooted in the core values of the Alliance which was built upon a mutually recognized commitment to liberty, security and democracy.
"In today's fast-changing and increasingly unpredictable world, it is important that we neither give up, nor relent, nor become divided. We look towards those we guard in the Baltic Sea region and we stay focused on those close to us." — the Commander concluded.