VICENZA, Italy-More than 25 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade are scheduled to deploy to Rukla, Lithuania, next week for Exercise Arccade Fusion 2015.

Arccade Fusion, an annual exercise for the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, will involve nearly 1,700 personnel from 19 nations, and span four countries including the United Kingdom, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

This year the exercise focus will be on command and control operations of land component forces of a combined joint task force.

"My aim is to evaluate our deployability, test key emerging concepts that can be used to develop NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, and strengthen our partnership with our allies, especially those in the Baltic region," said British Army Lt. Gen. Tim Evans, commander, AARC.

For the paratroopers of the 173rd, this exercise will be a chance to enhance the brigade staff's ability to conduct high-level planning with European allies and partners.

"This is an opportunity to make sure that the brigade is not only training our companies and battalions, but also training our brigade-level staff in combined planning and assessment," said U.S. Army Maj. David Mun, brigade fire support officer, headquarters, 173rd Abn. Bde. "Military to military staff development is critical: it's one thing to understand our allies' doctrine, but it's another thing to sit beside them and exercise that doctrine together."

For the duration of the exercise, the brigade will be working side-by-side with the Lithuanian Iron Wolf Brigade, an ally from the start of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S.'s demonstration to the collective security of NATO and to stability in the European region.

"These type of combined exercises helps to build our personal and professional relationships with our allies," said Mun. "So when we are called upon to work together, we already have this experience. These relationships and experiences also contributes to our combined readiness - we want to make sure that we are ready to go anywhere, anytime."

The ARRC, a high readiness land force headquarters, is prepared to deploy under NATO, European Union, collation or national auspices to a designated area, to undertake combined and joint operations across the operational spectrum.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army Contingency Response Force in Europe and is capable of deploying ready forces to conduct the full range of military operations across the U.S. European, Africa and Central Commands' areas of operations within 18 hours.