NIENBURG, Germany -- Members of the U.S. Army Reserve's only civil affairs battalion in Europe joined approximately 500 Soldiers and civilians from 24 countries in North America and Europe for a civil-military cooperation exercise, Oct. 28 - Nov. 8 in and around Nienburg, Germany.
Members of the 457th Civil Affairs Battalion, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, 7th Mission Support Command trained in Joint Cooperation 2019 - the ninth annual iteration of a full-scale NATO civil-military cooperation exercise.
The exercise places Soldiers in a scenario of conflict in the fictional states of Torrike and Framland. The overriding storyline of the exercise progresses each year and focuses on a different NATO article, this year being Article III. In this year's iteration, armed conflict between Torrike and Framland has mostly subsided but Framland has requested that NATO troops stay in the area.
The Soldier's mission is to interact with roleplayers acting as local citizens of the area who either question their presence in the area, want to provide information or need help addressing humanitarian concerns.
"It gives us an opportunity to show that we're more than just Soldiers with weapons, we can do several things," said Netherlands Army 1st Lt. Joris Davidse, deputy commander of the Civil-Military Cooperation Center-South. "This allows us to show a human face and when Framland asks for help, we help them."
Soldiers were stationed in two different civil-military cooperation centers - one dubbed "CIMIC Center South" in Steyerberg and another - "CIMIC Center North" just outside of Clausewitz Kaserne - the Bundeswehr installation where the exercise was headquartered.
"The CIMIC center is the human face of the mission," Davidse said. "And it allows us to work in teams of five or six nationalities in one group and that's the story of NATO."