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Aug 11 2021

"Road Trip: USA"

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Road trips are a long-held American tradition emphasizing the freedom of open highways, commonly shared experiences, and, most importantly, developing relationships between people. In early August 2021, Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast (HQ MNC NE) sent a delegation to the United States to build relationships with the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) and develop interoperability between HQ MNC NE and the newly established U.S. V Corps. HQ MNC NE's "road trip" across the U.S. in two minivans covered over 1000 km, five U.S. states, and two time zones.


Interoperability is not just about technology; it also involves a massive human factor that equipment alone cannot overcome. Working alongside Allies and partners requires human-to-human relationships and common understanding to build teams ready to take on any assigned mission. The U.S. is one of NATO's largest Allies and central to the defense of the Baltic Sea Region.  Building and reinforcing this relationship strengthens security in the Baltic Sea Region and communicates the steadfast support of Allies to the common defense.

Over nine days, the HQ MNC NE delegation led by LGEN Slawomir Wojciechowski and BGEN David Womack, visited Fort Leavenworth, Kansas home of Combined Arms Center, and Fort Knox, Kentucky home of V Corps.

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e78aiqkwqaagpmh-BBaQv2 The trip consisted of hosted briefings on developments in Division and Corps warfighting, engagements with U.S. Army senior leaders,

meeting with NATO officers enrolled in U.S. Army schools, and observing the V Corps Command Post Exercise (CPX).

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HQ MNC NE's "road trip" began at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas home of Combined Arms Center and the academic hub of the U.S. Army. Combined Arms Center is the U.S. Army's leader in stewarding the profession and developing leaders of character. The MNC NE delegation met with LGEN Ted Martin, Commanding General of Combined Arms Center, and the leader of Combined Arms Center subordinate units of the Mission Command Center of Excellence (MCoE), Army University, and Combined Arms Center-Training (CAC-T).


As part of these engagements, LGEN Wojciechowski emphasized that "We can't wish interoperability away," and we must always remember, "Interoperability is a combat multiplier because we never fight alone."  

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While at Combined Arms Center, the delegation met with U.S. doctrine developers to help them further their efforts to build U.S. multinational interoperability (MNI) doctrine and met with the U.S. Army Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) to provide feedback on CALL products supporting NATO MNI. These efforts, combined, help build interoperability at the human-dimension level.

One of the major highlights of MNC NE's time at Fort Leavenworth was meeting with over 55-NATO students enrolled in various courses at Combined Arms Center. NATO students currently enrolled at Combined Arms Center had the chance to engage with LGEN Wojciechowski in an unfiltered dialogue on the role of MNC NE and the role of NATO in Central and Eastern Europe. Many of the NATO officers enrolled in courses have operational experience in the BalSR or have personally worked with or served in subordinate MNC NE organizations. LGEN Wojciechowski wished the students that he could "Inspire and encourage you to think big" and that "When given knowledge be a critic and take a critical look."

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HQ MNC NE's time at Fort Leavenworth facilitated the sharing of knowledge between MNC NE and Combined Arms Center, the academic center of the U.S. Army. From Leavenworth, the delegation road-tripped to Fort Knox, Kentucky, in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon country, to observe V Corps' final CPX before their Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL). CPX's are important events where an organization builds its team, refines operating procedures, and serves as the final rehearsal before CREVAL.

Based at Fort Knox, Kentucky, V Corps is the newly organized and formed U.S. Corps focused on operations in Europe. Deactivated in 2012, V Corps reestablished in 2020, and the fall reaches its fully operational status. By the fall of 2021, V Corps maintains a forward command post in Poznan, Poland, and the main command post in Fort Knox. This forward position in Poland makes V Corps the closest Allied Corps headquarters to HQ MNC NE's. It, therefore, will soon be one of the closest relationships maintained by MNC NE.

LGEN Wojciechowski and BGEN Womack met with V Corps Commanding General LGEN John Kolasheski and Deputy Commanding General BGEN Matthew Van Wagenen. The MNC NE delegation toured the main command post, received an exercise operations update, and met key leaders across V Corps. V Corps is ready for its CREVAL, and we expect it will soon be standing set alongside MNC NE on NATO's eastern flank.

Outside of building relationships with the U.S. Army, HQ MNC NE took a "road trip" to the U.S. National World War I Museum and Memorial, visited the General George Patton Museum of Leadership, and visited the American Civil War Battlefield of Perryville, Kentucky. The time at the National WWI Museum provided time for reflection on the causes and cost of large-scale combat operations. In contrast, the delegations time at Perryville Battlefield focused on operational and tactical application of Corps operations. These two visits helped keep the MNC NE delegation grounded in the reality of warfare and provided room for discussion on the application of military science.

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This trip was HQ MNC NE's first "road trip," but it will certainly not be the last. This trip provided an opportunity to build relationships with the U.S. V Corps, influence the academic center of the U.S. Army and develop interoperability between Allies. HQ MNC NE continues to strengthen our Allies and partners and remain steadfast in our commitment to peace and security on NATO's Eastern flank. We will see you on our next "road trip."

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Major Jared Nichols J3/5 SO Plans

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