CINCU, Romania -- Hundreds of Soldiers gathered here July 27, 2016 to mark the official start of Exercise Saber Guardian 16.

Saber Guardian is a Romanian and U.S. Army Europe-led exercise designed to promote regional stability and security, while strengthening partnership capacity, and fostering trust while improving interoperability between Romania, the U.S., NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations. It takes place July 27-Aug. 7, 2016 at the Romanian Land Force Combat Training Center (RLF-CTC) in Cincu, Romania.

Romanian Defense Minister Mihnea Motoc opened the ceremony by saying, "this exercise, will strengthen the interoperability between us and our partners, and will guarantee that our allies will want to seek further training opportunities with us."

Saber Guardian demonstrates readiness by exercising a credible collective defense scenario that includes a command post exercise, field exercise, and a live fire exercise utilizing the total Army concept of active duty, U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard forces to synergize their combined effects.

Col. Robert Bertrand, U.S. Army Europe exercise co-director, stressed the importance of this exercise because," it demonstrates how critical to US and NATO the Southern flank and Black Sea region is to our shared defense."

Bertrand went on to say that the U.S. military presence in Romania serves an important purpose.

"United States Army Europe will continue to increase our interaction with you, our allies and partners, who are under pressure from Russia or the Islamic State and those who face challenges from refugees, to assure you in our commitment to our mutual stability and security," he said. "We look forward to working with you over the next two weeks."

U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.