NATO eFP demonstrates readiness in Poland
By Capt. John StricklandSeptember 7, 2017
BEMOWO PISKIE, Poland - NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Poland finished up its two day alert drill, Bull Run II, that took place across North East Poland, Sept. 6, 2017.The exercise tested the battle group's speed of assembly, along with freedom of movement through its area of responsibility, and the collective defense of the region.The Polish-based battle group consists of the framework nation provided by the United States' 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, with a troop of British Light Dragoons as additional reconnaissance, and a battery of air defense artillery, a capability not organic to the squadron, provided by Romania."Bull Run is a rehearsal for a potential defense of NATO's eastern flank here in Poland," said Battle Group Commander, Lt. Col. Christopher L'Heureux. "It is the expression of our deterrence capability."This second iteration of Bull Run added to the previous one to help build on the procedures and cohesion of the multinational unit."One of the objectives for Bull Run is to practice the things that we have to do as a battle group to get out of the door and into a defense," L'Heureux said. "To practice what we would have to do in the case of a conflict or rising tensions."The U.S.-led battle group has been deployed to North East Poland since April with the mission to defend NATO's eastern boarder along with three other battle groups positioned in each Baltic nation.Bull Run II began with an alert to the troops and involved the entire battle group leaving the base and assembling outside of the traditional training area provided by the host nation, Poland."It's very important for us to demonstrate that we can be at the right place, at the right time. If we just stay in once place, that's not defending and that's not deterrence," said Romanian Army Capt. Nistor Andrei, Deputy Commander, 2nd Battery, 205th Air Defense Artillery Battalion. "Defending means at any moment to be able to go anywhere in the area and be ready."Once the unit is safely off of the base and has established itself in a secure location, the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade, which acts as the higher command for the exercise, will issue the instruction for the exercise and the commanders will begin to make their plans before heading to their prescribed locations."We deploy out into the local area forward to predetermined battle positions," said British Army Maj. Noel Clayton Swales, Troop Commander for the British Light Dragoons. "We look at actual routes and crossing points; basic reconnaissance tasks as the battle group's reconnaissance asset."The unit worked closely with the local authorities and municipalities of the cities and towns used in the exercise.For their support to the exercise and the battle group, Mayors and landowners that offered up their property for use during the exercise received a certificate of appreciation from the battle group commander and a set of spurs, a cavalry tradition.