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Jul 22 2022

Major General GromadziŃski for Baltic Amber 2022: Unity is our strength

 The Polish Army Major General Jarosław Gromadziński is the Commander of the Polish 18th Mechanised Division (aka 'Iron Division'); in 2016-2018, he was in command of the Polish 15th Mechanised Brigade, into which the first enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup deployed to Poland was integrated; MG Gromadzińki supervised this process.

 Led by the U.S. Army, the Battlegroup comprises also British, Croatian and Romanian Allies.

The reaction of Poland and other NATO member states to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation (2014) was to take steps to strengthen the Alliance's eastern border in order to deter potential aggression and increase the security of the region and NATO as a whole. During the summit in Warsaw (2016), Allies agreed to deploy four battalion-size Battlegroups of around 1,000 soldiers each in the Baltic States and Poland. At the time of their deployment (2017), it was the very first time such a concept was developed and implemented. Changes brought about by the presence of Allied troops concerned almost all aspects of our daily work, from training methods to command and control, and logistics.

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Polish and U.S. soldier line up during Battlegroup Poland's welcome ceremony, 13 April 2017, Orzysz, Poland / Photo by Poland's Ministry of Defence

Each of the Allies had its unique scheme for conducting training, unique equipment and weapons systems with different doctrines and standard operating procedures. It might seem that language would be a barrier affecting this international cooperation. However, it turned out to be an enabling tool. The biggest effort was to build trust between troops of different nationalities and to prove that we were professionals. Our Brigade's soldiers also had to adapt to serving in a new diverse environment. Taking into account, above all, the lack of common procedures at the time, I believe that we managed to achieve a good level of integration quite quickly before taking part in exercise SABER STRIKE-17, which was the very first training opportunity for all eFP Battlegroups.

As I see it, each exercise conducted together taught us mutual understanding and built mutual trust. 

We drew conclusions from every single one of them, and thus we introduced changes to standard operating procedures and employed new training methods in the Brigade. All of this is due to the exchange of knowledge and experience between Allies, resulting in the development of the most efficient and effective ways of performing our tasks. One of the most advantageous consequences of this multinational cooperation was the introduction of a working concept called "PLUG & FIGHT", which makes it particularly easy for a national (in this case Polish) unit to receive and command additional support elements for Allied forces.

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Romanian soldiers talk with (then) Brigadier General Jarosław Gromadziński, Commander 15th Mechanized Brigade, and Lieutenant Colonel Steven Gventer, Commander Battlegroup POL, at an open house event on 22 April 2017 at a local military academy in Elk, Poland / Photo by U.S. Army
Today, I am proud of the innovative solutions that we have created, especially since they have proven beneficial not only to 15th Mechanised Brigade, but also to the Polish Armed Forces.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that the decision to deploy the eFP Battlegroups in the Baltic States and Poland showed that it is not only the number of guns that is important, but above all the number of flags. Because unity is the strength of our Alliance. Stronger together!

For the full article by the Polish Army Major General Jarosław Gromadziński see:

baltic Amber Magazine

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