HOHENFELS, Germany (May 20, 2014) -- Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh focused on the implementation of U.S. Army Europe's regionally aligned forces concept while observing Soldiers and NATO and European partners at exercise Combined Resolve II here, Saturday.

"Regionally aligned forces better enable our Soldiers to collaborate with our European partners across the full spectrum of missions," said McHugh. "It's important for our Soldiers to have a continual engagement with our allies and partners."

More than 4,000 participants from 14 NATO and European partner nations are participating in the largest scheduled multi-national exercise in Europe this year, and the Secretary spent the day learning about the challenges and benefits of training together as a coalition.

McHugh had a chance to meet and talk with U.S. and European partner Soldiers during a special Capabilities Day event. Vehicles and weapon systems from the 14 participating allied and partner nations were on display as soldiers interacted and learned about each other's equipment and procedures.

"It's reassuring to see the combined capabilities of allies and partners work together," said McHugh. "The relationships that are developed between individual soldiers during multi-national exercises like Combined Resolve II create the foundation of a powerful and committed U.S. Army presence in Europe."

The Secretary also met with the exercise staff from the Joint Multinational Training Command and U.S. Army Europe, as well as staff from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the main U.S. training unit participating in Combined Resolve II. The brigade, home stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, is currently serving as the U.S. Army's regionally aligned brigade combat team to the U.S. European Command and will participate in training events alongside European allies and partners during their two-month deployment.

"The Soldiers from [the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division], along with many other U.S. Soldiers know that we have great training capacity at our national training centers," McHugh said, "but only at the Joint Multinational Training Command at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels can you find that great training with this many multi-national partners."

Combined Resolve II runs from May 1 to June 30, and includes participants from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and the U.S. The exercise will include both combat maneuver training at the Hohenfels Training Area and a "blended" live-fire exercise at the Grafenwoehr Training Area that will include a mix of live, virtual and simulated training environments.

To learn more about Combined Resolve II, go to the official exercise website www.eur.army.mil/jmt/CombinedResolve. You can also join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr @7thArmyJMTC using #CombinedResolve.