By Staff Sgt. Lorene MauroJune 5, 2017
HOHENFELS, Germany -- U.S. forces are working alongside France's Rapid Reaction Corps (RRC-France) and other partner nations in the Combined Resolve VIII exercise here, May 24 to June 16, 2017.
NATO recently certified RRC-France as a Joint Task Force Headquarters, meaning that the organization now serves both the functional capabilities of a Joint Theater Headquarters, as well as the capabilities for smaller joint operations.
The RRC-France is comprised of nearly 400 service members, with more than 80 multinational officers representing 12 NATO countries, including the U.S. For the Combined Resolve VIII exercise, RRC-France sent 34 service members from France, Hungary, Belgium, France, Hungary, the U.S., and the U.K.
Because of the NATO certification, RRC-France is able to offer coalition soldiers training in NATO standards and procedures, explained U.S. Army Lt. Col. Will Canda, the operations officer-in-charge for RRC-France.
This particular exercise provides a unique opportunity for everyone involved, said Canda, because the brigade training in the field is accustomed to having a U.S. division as a higher headquarters, and the members of RRC-France typically participate in exercises with simulated subordinate units.
"Here we have actual subordinate units giving us real-time reports, feedback and [requests for information] that challenge us beyond someone sitting in a room somewhere giving us scripted [events]," said Canda.
"Interacting with Soldiers conducting training operations in the field provides us with a great opportunity to reconnect with the realities of the conditions they face when executing the orders we produce," added French Army Col. François-Xavier Bottet, chief of staff for RRC-France.
Additionally, this exercise gives this NATO force structure organization a chance to interact more directly with the U.S. Army effort in Europe, said Canda.
"This is us working together and getting a better understanding on how each of us operates," he said. "Here at JMRC they work interoperability down to a very tactical level."
Inside the Division Tactical Operations Center, Soldiers can operate both NATO and Army systems, providing valuable training that RRC-France and the Army can share with their partners, according to Canda.
"So what we're doing here is stressing the interoperability between NATO and the U.S. [Regionally Allocated Force]," he said.
"The biggest take away from doing this is that this exercise takes us out of our comfort zone and what we're used to and helps us interact with our partners in new ways," said Canda. "That way we all learn and all get better together."