By Maj. Michael Weisman, U.S. Army Europe Public AffairsJuly 15, 2013
YAVORIV, Ukraine (July 15, 2013) -- North Atlantic Treaty Organization Allied Land Command Commanding General Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges visited Exercise Rapid Trident 2013 here, July 15, to gain an understanding of the training conducted and the capabilities of the International Peacekeeping and Security Center.
Allied Land Command is located in Izmir, Turkey and provides expertise in support of Alliance land-forces readiness, competency and standardization, including their evaluation and certification, according to Hodges. The command was activated in November 2012, replacing two NATO land-force component headquarters that were located in Madrid, Spain, and Heidelberg, Germany.
"The purpose of my headquarters," said Hodges. "Is to make sure that all land forces in NATO and our partners are able to work together to help land forces and Soldiers to be effective as they can be inside a joint, coalition environment."
Rapid Trident 2013 is a U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational field training and command post exercise occurring at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, or IPSC, in Yavoriv, July 8-19, that involves approximately 1,300 troops from 17 nations. The exercise is designed to enhance interoperability between forces and promote regional stability and security.
"I came to Rapid Trident 2013 to see this facility and to watch the training that's going on, with Ukraine and U.S. Army Europe working together to create a good exercise," said Hodges. "I've been very impressed with everything I've seen."
During his visit, Hodges toured facilities and received a briefing from Ukrainian officers leading the multinational headquarters as part of the field-training exercise. He expressed that interoperability is the key to the multinational training he observed. In adding how his headquarters plays a role in the process, he remarked that "NATO standard is a line that everyone can meet; everyone trains to the same standard."
He also observed two Ukrainian airborne operations, including pararescue forces conducting a search and rescue mission.
"I think it's very important that our nations retain the ability to do a forced entry," Hodges said. "You have to have airborne capabilities and I'm glad to see this exercise emphasizes that."
In the future, Hodges sees the opportunity for the Rapid Trident exercises to expand.
"It has the capacity to be part of a distributed command-post exercise, with headquarters [across Europe] as part of the same exercise," he said.