Eucom Enhances Force Readiness Through Summer Exercises

May 31, 2018

U.S. European Command is kicking off its summer exercise season by conducting three long-planned, key events: Baltic Operations, Saber Strike and Swift Response.

Eucom officials said these exercises demonstrate the command’s continued commitment to NATO allies and partners by maintaining its warfighting edge and ability for crisis response.

Throughout the year, Eucom carries out a continual training cycle with its service component commands, allies and partners. Top priorities are preparedness to address Russian malign influence and the ability to provide a combat-credible military force to deter war, protect U.S. interests and reassure European allies across the theater, Eucom officials said.

A premier maritime-led exercise in the Baltic Sea, Baltic Operations is one of the largest exercises in northern Europe. Its focus is delivering demanding training across the entire spectrum of naval warfare, including training to effectively counter aircraft, ship and submarine attacks; coordinate between air and maritime units; and conduct live gunnery and mine countermeasures operations.

Saber Strike is a cooperative training exercise to enhance relationship building across U.S., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and allied and partner nations. This year’s key Saber Strike objective will be training and exercising NATO’s enhanced forward presence — battle groups with a focus on promoting interoperability and improving joint operational capability in a variety of land missions.

Swift Response executes airborne crisis response scenarios that focus on training the U.S. Global Response Force to conduct rapid response infiltration. Swift Response will feature multinational forces, airborne exercises, joint forcible entry personnel and equipment drops, air assault operations, a force buildup using a short takeoff and landing strip, and noncombatant evacuation operations.

This event allows allies to connect — personally, professionally, technically and tactically — to build stronger, more capable forces that are ready at a moment’s notice to respond to crisis situations, officials explained.

Active Engagement

At any given moment, Eucom and its components are actively engaged in more than 100 exercises and operations, officials noted. Eucom’s exercises and assessments division, led by Air Force Brig. Gen. John P. Healy, relies on the strong partnerships the command has with its NATO allies and European partners to make each exercise run as smoothly and successfully as possible.

“Our robust exercise program continues to ready our service members, allies and partners so they are the best trained warfighting force in the world,” Healy said, “and that they are prepared for any crisis or challenge.”

The exercises focus on joint cooperation and actions and are made relevant by continued challenges and threats around the world, officials said. For example, they noted, the combined military response in April to Syria’s use of chemical weapons included Eucom and NATO alliance air and maritime assets. The familiarity built through joint and combined training allowed the United States, the United Kingdom and France to integrate planning efforts and conduct a successful strike that demonstrated allied cooperation and strength, officials said, adding that these actions demonstrate the necessity to maintain readiness and the importance of partnerships.

“No nation stands alone, and no nation’s immune to the threat of violence posed by terror,” said Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Eucom commander, during a recent discussion with European chiefs of defense. “We’re definitely stronger together, and we’re more effective as a team.”

Eucom’s exercise program provides the opportunity for military teams to come together to train, which ultimately strengthens the existing alliances that deter existing and potential threats, officials said. The ability to adapt to a complex security environment creates greater cohesiveness and enable allies, partners, interagency organizations, and other combatant commands to enhance their response to regional crises. It also meets country-specific security needs by improving border security, ensuring energy security, and countering threats such as terrorism, illegal trafficking and weapons proliferation, they explained.

Eucom maintains a ready forward presence, postured alongside proven, indispensable European allies and partners to ensure regional stability and represent national interests, command officials said. Through tough, realistic training, they added, the command continues to adjust to a dynamic strategic environment, aggressively adapting its thinking and approaches to meet its assigned missions.