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Mar 29 2022

Know the Terrain: MNC NE Terrain Reconnaissance

Change is a constant in warfare: organizations change, tactics change, technologies change; but the terrain remains constant. The pre-eminent military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said that the relationship between war and terrain demands "the faculty of quickly and accurately grasping the topography of any area." This concept of understanding the terrain is as valid today as it was over two hundred years ago. The leadership at Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE) know and understand that and see the utility in training the staff on the terrain of the MNC NE Area of Operations (AOO)

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During the week of 22-25 March, a planning team from MNC NE conducted a terrain reconnaissance of northeastern Poland to understand the topography of the MNC AOO. The MNC NE team drove over 1600 kilometers throughout the MNC NE AOO to understand the terrain factors that apply to the cohesive defense of NATO territorial integrity. Key to building this understanding were reconnaissance of the Mansurian lakes, Suwalki corridor, and the borders between the four nations in the region.


Leadership is an Art author Max Du Pree wrote that "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality for the team." Meaning that every leader must understand planning factors for the team and accurately ensure that that understanding translates down to their team members. Before stepping into the fight, leaders must understand their organization's strengths, weaknesses, and ideal operating terrain. Each adversary has the same opportunity to use the environment to its advantage.

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The efforts of the terrain reconnaissance contribute to building the situational awareness of HQ MNC NE and help refine NATO planning efforts. MNC NE continues to work with NATO headquarters, host nations, and partners to build and refine plans that maintain safety and security throughout the NATO Alliance. With refined integrated plans, and a firm understanding of the terrain, NATO remains Stronger Together.

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

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