By Greg Jones, USA NATO Bde. Public AffairsDecember 2, 2016
BRUNSSUM, Netherlands -- Soldiers assigned to the NATO Joint Force Command, Brunssum participated in a readiness drill recently to confirm that they would be ready, should the JTF need to deploy.
Much like a classic Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises that many Soldiers may be familiar with, this exercise took participants through the steps of deploying the JTF, but stopped short of actually moving them anywhere.
The drill consisted of a check of records and medical readiness, issued specialized deployment equipment like gas masks and weapons, inventoried Soldiers individual equipment and inventoried supplies like food and water that are earmarked for rapid deployment.
What makes this type of readiness drill different from a classic EDRE is, like everything else in NATO, the complexity of operating in a multinational environment with 28 different partner nations.
While the overall deployment of the JTF is the responsibility of the NATO command, ensuring that individual Soldiers are properly trained and equipped for the mission, and medically and administratively ready, is the responsibility of the individual contributing nation. That's where the USA NATO Brigade's National Support Element Soldiers come in.
"It is our responsibility to ensure that all of the U.S. Soldiers that work here as part of the deployable headquarters of JFC Brunssum are fit, trained and ready to deploy," said Cpt. Daivd Sonney, commander of Alpha Company Allied Forces Nroth Battalion, who oversaw the U.S. support to the readiness drill.
The Soldiers conducted a records check, as well as a medical readiness check, providing some medical and administrative services to bring non-deployable personnel into compliance with deployment requirements.
They also conducted an inventory of the Soldiers' issued individual equipment, and verified that weapons were on hand to issue to each Soldier in case of an actual deployment.
Actually running through the steps helps highlight challenges that need to be worked out prior to a deployment, such as the challenge of meeting Army medical deployment requirements at a location without a specific Army clinic, or issuing individual equipment when the nearest issue facility is several hundred kilometers away, according to Sonney.
"It's always nice to actually exercise the procedures and polices you put in place," he said. "If anything can go wrong it will go wrong, so it's important to have an exercise like this so we know where the hiccups are, where the pitfalls are, and how we can fix them and ensure that going forward we wouldn't have any issues getting Soldiers out the door."