By Sgt. Brooks FletcherApril 8, 2014
NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria (April 8, 2014) -- After a week of scenario-driven, computer-based operations, Saber Guardian 2014 officially came to end, April 3.
This year's exercise was designed to strengthen international agency and military partnering, and to foster trust while improving interoperability between NATO and partner nations involved in foreign humanitarian assistance operations with U.S. forces.
It is in this context that U.S. Army Europe, or USAREUR, Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Richard C. Longo, who served alongside the Bulgarian Land Forces's Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Krasimir Kanev as exercise co-director, congratulated the participants on not only a job well done, but for overcoming the many multicultural barriers.
"A week ago we were separated by our nations," Longo said. "But today, those same people learned to work together as one team, and are standing here. Your presence here shows your country's commitment to our alliance, to our partnership, to our common goal of a stable and secure region."
Saber Guardian 2014 was a command post exercise, established to prepare commanders and staffs to operate in a foreign humanitarian assistance environment.
While the exercise's Multinational Brigade -- made up of personnel from 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Army National Guard, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit -- and USAREUR's rapid-deploying Contingency Command Post served as higher elements; the 7th Civil Support Command provided the interface for consequence management between host nation authorities and other U.S. organizations.
USAREUR Contingency Command Post Mission Command Systems Lead Dan Hawkins, explained how a common operating picture allowed all participating parties to exercise the interoperability, partnership and commitment that Saber Guardian 2014 set out to further enhance.
"By providing a collaborative workspace for our joint and multinational partners, this exercise allows them to effectively communicate in support of the overall operation."
The ultimate goal of this exercise, Kanev reiterated, was to improve interoperability, mutual trust and understanding among the armed forces of the participation nations.
"The concurrent execution of two separate missions -- humanitarian and peace support -- being implemented with close cooperation between two separate units, makes this a very unique exercise," said Kanev. "I'd like to express my highest respects to the teams and friendships made among the 700 military personnel; helping create valuable and lasting relationships that will contribute to future operations."
During his opening ceremony remarks, Longo expressed his sentiments on Saber Guardian 2014 and how multinational exercises as such contribute to the peace and security of the region. With the Bulgarian-based exercise finished, his remarks reinforced those sentiments.
"This has been an incredibly complex exercise. This is the most complex exercise the United States Army in Europe has participated in, in many years," Longo said. "What have we accomplished? We have learned to work together as partners. We have learned to operate together towards a common goal. We have demonstrated a true commitment to each other to stand shoulder-to-shoulder no matter what crisis we face in the world."