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Mar 15 2021

"Griffin Lightning 21" concludes in Bydgoszcz

On March 12, Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast (HQ MNC NE) concluded exercise GRIFFIN LIGTHNING 21 (GRLI21). During the two-week training event the Headquarters enhanced their operational readiness as the NATO Regional Land Component Command for the Baltic Sea region.

GRLI 21 is a periodic Command Post Exercise (CPX) designed to test the Szczecin-based headquarters’ capabilities in a simulated pre-Article 5 environment. This iteration, however, offered the HQ MNC NE service members the unparalleled opportunity to plan, resource and conduct a major joint exercise within the confines of COVID-19 restrictions. 

It allowed us to execute our Command and Control functions, train and refine our Battle Rhythm and improve our understanding of tasks related to our deterrence mission,

said Brigadier General David Womack, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations MNC NE, at the conclusion of this year’s iteration.

The exercise served to increase planning and decision-making skills across the Corps, including the Multinational Divisions – North East and North – and NATO Force Integration Units. Thus, a considerable portion of GRLI21 had its focus placed on refining and improving HQ MNC NE’s reporting procedures. 

Of significant importance for the training output was the contribution by external stakeholders, including Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, the adjacent Single Component Commands, Joint Logistics Support Group and national headquarters. Their willingness to participate both physically and remotely in the exercise was an integral part of MNC NE’s ability to improve its operational capability and accomplish exercise and training objectives. External participants enriched the scripting of the exercise prior to its execution and developed dynamic injects during the event. Subject matter experts were able to infuse exercise scenarios with the complexity required to stimulate the training audience’s crisis reaction and operational feedback.

Equally important, GRLI21 laid the groundwork for the HQ MNC NE upcoming Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL), which is set to be conducted during exercise STEADFAST JUPITER 21 this October. 

If need be, we will again demonstrate the resolve to work successfully against all odds,

emphasized the Corps’ Commander, Lieutenant General Sławomir Wojciechowski.

GRLI21 saw the Headquarters’ personnel deployed to Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, north-central Poland, where a Main Command Post was established. “We set up a large ‘tent city’ in the JFTC expeditionary training area to accommodate all troops involved in the exercise in proper operational conditions and in line with the strict sanitary regime related to the pandemic,” said Lieutenant Colonel Dariusz Korpalski, JFTC Deputy OPR for GRLI21.

JFTC also covered security aspects, computer systems, Communication and Information Services set-up and maintenance as well as a broad real life support. As a means to keep the training personnel safe amid the coronavirus pandemic, all participants of the exercise were subject to COVID-19 testing. Even though initial planning of GRLI21 was hampered by the pandemic restrictions, coordination amongst partners allowed the successful delivery of the exercise.

As a team, we have gained a lot of learning opportunities

and enhanced our operational readiness as the Regional Component Command for the Baltic Sea region,” summarized Major General Ulrich Hellebjerg, Deputy Commander MNC NE and the Exercise Director. 

Story by Marta Karpińska, MNC NE Public Affairs Office, and Major Priscilla Jewell, MNC NE J7 Division

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Multinational Corps Northeast
Waleriana Łukasińskiego 33
71-215 Szczecin

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Public Affairs Office
Waleriana Łukasińskiego 33
71-215 Szczecin