HOHENFELS, Germany (May 22, 2014) -- Using the most up-to-date equipment while training with U.S. allies is all part of a multinational military exercise at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr Training Areas, May 15 to June 30. As part of Combined Resolve II, U.S. Army Europe hosts allies and partners from 14 European countries training for future operations.
The exercise, with more than 4,000 participants, includes military personnel from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and the U.S.
"The next mission, we're likely to be called upon is going to be configured just this way, multi-nationally," said Secretary of the Army John McHugh during a visit to Hohenfels to see the exercise.
U.S. Army Europe multinational exercises ensure interoperability among U.S., NATO and partner-nation forces. They help maintain the lessons learned from over a decade of fighting side-by-side in the war on terror.
Each nation and their respective military operate differently which presents challenges, but each challenge represents an opportunity to learn how mission command systems are utilized with other nations, said Capt. John M. Nimmons, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Operations Group Date lead planner.
"It's real important that we get comfortable with each other and that we understand where there are challenges and work them out in a training environment so that when the call does come everybody is prepared to go," said McHugh.
The training area in southeast Germany is centrally located among the highest concentration of U.S. allies and partners in the world. Combined Resolve II helps build the NATO alliance and bring together members to train, build relationships and trust.
"From the Soldier perspective, it gives them an opportunity to have a unique geographical expertise to get comfortable, both culturally as well as militarily, in a particular region," said McHugh.
As the Pentagon's plan for reducing their footprint in Europe goes into effect and the number of U.S. forces in Europe decreases, a rotational force will execute much of the military's European mission.
"As we look at helping sustain Europe with the initiatives put out by the Pentagon and helping sustain NATO, we wanted to incorporate our multinational partners in our training," said Nimmons.
The European Rotational Force will replace the larger units stationed permanently in Europe and move them stateside while maintaining support units in Europe to facilitate the rotational training model outlined by the Department of Defense.
"In a time of austere resources it's a very cost effective way to get our young leaders forward, to place them in different environments and challenge them," said McHugh.
For the first time, Combined Resolve II is allowing the European Rotational Force to use the most up-to-date U.S. Army combat vehicles and equipment. The European Rotation Force allows units coming from the U.S. to use existing equipment at the training site.
"[The Joint Multinational Readiness Center] conducts anywhere from eight to 15 exercises per year and the European Rotational Force participates in two multinational training events per year which brings over the Regional Aligned Force from the United States to train with our allies and partners," said Nimmons.
The U.S. and Romanian armies, as well as many of the allied partners, have served in Afghanistan and trained together working very closely to develop and refine their standard operating procedures.
"We work very close with the U.S. troops and have a lot of friends in the U.S. Army. Training together is great because we can verify our standard operational procedures, which are very much the same," said Romanian TF Group Commander Col. Adrian Popescu, commander of 300th Infantry Mechanized Battalion, Galati, Romania.
The training and experience that all of the personnel involved in this exercise will take away and share with their Soldiers when they return to their home units is invaluable, said Popescu.