SZCZECIN, Poland (January 25, 2021) – Commanders for Allied Land Command and Multinational Corps Northeast began discussions Monday at Baltic Barracks, the Headquarters for MNC-NE, to set objectives for LANDCOM’s evaluation of MNC-NE later this year as NATO’s designated Warfighting Corps for 2022.
According to Allied Force Standards Volume VII, which is the guide for certifying NATO Land Forces readiness to conduct NATO operations, Phase 1 of any Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL) is an Evaluation Team Chief (ETC) to evaluated Commander dialogue to establish exercise objectives. In MNC-NE’s case, it is a conversation between LANDCOM Commander, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Roger Cloutier as the ETC, and MNC-NE Commander, Polish Army Lt. Gen. Sławomir Wojciechowski.
“This is where we will reach an agreement on what will be evaluated and the scope and scale of that evaluation,” said Cloutier. “Because Sławomir knows his organization, he is able to add special emphasis on specific areas he wants to focus on during his CREVAL.”
The CREVAL process began changing in 2019 to a new approach making it more focused, supportive and balanced. Previously, the process included a rigid checklist format based off the concept of “trust but verify.” Thousands of performance measures were checked entailing large evaluation teams that were costly to deploy. Additionally, in that model there was little ability for the commander of the evaluated unit to tailor an evaluation to his or her specific unit.
“This commander-to-commander dialogue sets the tone for the initial coordination meeting (ICM) for the evaluation that will happen soon after between our respective staffs. Once Sławomir and I agree to objectives, the evaluation team finalizes the evaluation plan.”
Wojciechowski expressed his appreciation for the LANDCOM Commander’s efforts to help steer the focus of the evaluation.
"It is good to welcome General [sic] Cloutier again at Baltic Barracks. Our common efforts demonstrate that NATO stands united in the face of any possible aggression," said Wojciechowski.
While U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), retains the authority to direct evaluations at his discretion, the scope and scale of CREVALs are determined through this commander-to-commander dialogue with the intent of reaching an agreement on targeted areas to scrutinize within the evaluated Commander’s command. The benefits of using this revised approach include:
- Evaluation data becomes a valuable aid to commanders in planning their future training events.
- Reinforcement of the commitment and intent to continuous improvement.
- NATO’s Evaluation and Training (E&T) becomes even more of a genuine learning system.
- Evaluations are reduced in scope and scale, are more targeted and are better synchronized.
- Consequently, the costs and burden of evaluations are also reduced.
Headquarters MNC-NE acts both as a Regional Land Component Command and as a Warfighting Corps. As a High Readiness Force Land Headquarters, it is widening its scope of responsibility to a full 360 degrees of deterrence and defense within the Baltic Sea Region. As such, it is on permanent stand-by to take the lead in combat operations across NATO’s northeastern flank.
“This CREVAL is important for Multinational Corps Northeast,” said Cloutier. “If they are called to respond to a crisis or be part of a major joint operation, they will have multiple subordinate units – often from a variety of NATO nations – that they will be responsible to command and control as MNC-NE executes operations.”
LANDCOM will begin its readiness evaluation of MNC-NE in October. The importance of this commander’s dialogue to a successful CREVAL cannot be overstated.