MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania -- Senior U.S. and Romanian leaders gathered here July 17 to celebrate current and long-term infrastructure projects at the Army's Black Sea hub.

The projects are part of the base's rapid growth and recently-established role as the centralized operations-and-mission-command center for U.S. Army Europe contingencies throughout the Black Sea region.

"The improvements at Camp MK and Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria show that the United States is committed to a stable Black Sea region," said Michael Formica, director of Installation Management Command-Europe, at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. "These initiatives demonstrate the solidarity and unbreakable bond we share with our great ally Romania."

Towering as permanent fixtures on the forward installation, the new infrastructure, when fully completed, will expand the maintenance, storage and life-support capabilities needed to sustain an increase in U.S. rotational troops and, most recently, the massing of multinational forces deployed here for U.S. Army Europe's Saber Guardian 17 exercise, said Steven Povilaitis, deputy manager, USAG Ansbach-MK/Novo Selo Training Area.

"Whether it's space, room or the motor pool -- these projects reinforce Camp MK as the regional power projection platform and augment our capability and capacity exponentially," Povilaitis said. "It magnifies everything: staging, availability and delivery of equipment; increased fire power; and comprehensive support to our war-fighters."

Formica noted that units permanently stationed at Camp MK, and other troops moving through the footprint, will be able to store additional vehicles, aircraft and equipment in the base's larger motor pool area, climate-controlled military warehouse and several maintenance facilities once the projects are completed. Also, the installation eventually will house a fully-equipped, battalion-sized barracks headquarters building, two multi-purpose classrooms and a wash rack capable of 24-hour operations.

U.S. Army Europe funded the multi-million dollar construction program at Camp MK through the European Reassurance Initiative, which invests in European military readiness and the U.S. military's renewed commitment to deterring aggression in the region, Formica said.

Professionals from USAREUR, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and IMCOM have partnered with Romanian engineers and officials from the Romanian government throughout the entire construction process, Povilaitis said, enhancing an already firmly-vested rapport.

"These projects and the involvement of a talented Romanian workforce reinforce the relationship we've been building with our Romanian partners -- one that over time has really evolved into a friendship."

Serban Lungu, director of Romania's Integrated Defense Planning Directorate, Defense Policy and Planning Department, also recognized the alliance, noting Romania's steadfast commitment to future projects at Camp MK and collaborative engagements.

"The implementation of ERI projects in Romania is a priority of the highest order for [the Romanian Ministry of Defense]," said Lungu. The U.S. military's increased investment at Camp MK, he added, "provides a strong signal of support to regional security in the southeastern flank of the alliance, and it creates new opportunities for intensifying our bilateral cooperation."

In addition to the eight current ERI projects, more than 60 other capacity-enhancing construction projects are in the planning stages for future installment at Camp MK, including: aircraft support structures; training ranges; multi-use storage sites; and support for U.S. rotational forces.

All finished and future projects, valuing more than $50 million of ERI funds, are the U.S. military's first major infrastructure investments at Camp MK since the Army constructed basic billeting and administrative units in 2010 to support the base's transit mission.