BEMOWO PISKIE, Poland — NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland was established in 2017 as a multinational combined force that included units from the United States, Poland, the U.K., Romania and Croatia. The mission of the eFP Battle Group Poland is to strengthen the NATO Alliance’s deterrence and defensive posture in Poland.
Currently lead by the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment (3-8 CAV), 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (3-1 ABCT) operationally controlled by the 1st Infantry Division, alongside The Royal Lancers, Prince of Wales Troop, Romanian Sky Guardians, and Croatian Archer Battery operate in concert with the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade.
The eFP Battle Group Poland is continuously executing training exercises to enhance their readiness and ability to operate as a multinational, combat-ready force, strengthening the partnerships forged amongst the Allied Nations to continue to promote the strong alliances that are the spirit to NATO’s eFP mission.
“We’ve incorporated our NATO allies into the planning and execution, integrated them into our battle drills, and that is so important for interoperability,” said U.S. Army Maj. Eric Yost, executive officer assigned to 3-8 CAV, 3-1 ABCT. “We have four different countries' militaries in this battle group, and executing synchronized operations shows our Allies that we are ready to fight immediately if that call comes, and sends that same strategic message to any aggressors in this region.”
From command war colleges and NATO team leaders academy to live fire exercises, cohesion and cooperation among a multi-national NATO Alliance begins with front line leaders understanding of doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures — or TTPs — to ensure maximum interoperability.
“The training academy gives us the opportunity to share TTPs, which may be different from what other units and our NATO Allies use,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Joshua M. Lurie, officer in charge of the NATO team leaders academy Chaos Company, 3-8 CAV, 3-1 ABCT. “We can learn and discuss best practices, and in this setting we focus on doctrine so we can develop as a single unit, under a single standard.”
Training exercises and drilling alongside a multinational NATO Allies takes coordination and intent to master basic combat tactics and procedures to ensure unit cohesion.
“Conducting a leaders academy and participating with our allied counterparts is important because it fosters the relationship that we want to build with our NATO Allies,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Rafael A. Herrera, non-commissioned officer in charge of the NATO team leaders academy assigned to Chaos Company, 3-8 CAV, 3-1 ABCT. “We share our military doctrine in the spirit of learning and begin to build our capabilities here and now.”
Planning and organizing exercises with various leadership and a multinational NATO defense force takes intent, coordination and determination to ensure unit cohesion amongst the battle group alliance.
“This is very important for all of us because we have to work together and cooperate, we have to stay together,” said Capt. Rares David, operations staff officer of the Romanian Sky Guardians. “Cooperation and cohesion in working together is very important for interoperability and for this region.”
Training multinational military warfighters from differing units and nations to operate as one synchronous unit takes familiarity with tactics and procedures, training, battle drills, rehearsals and large scale exercises.
“We are conducting a NATO integration with soldiers with the Polish Territorial Defense Force and will be conducting battle drills,” said U.S. Army Capt. Stephen Noorlag, commander of Chaos Company, 3-8 CAV, 3-1 ABCT. “This is extremely important in today’s theater, especially with the environment that we may be called upon to defend our allies during the current climate in this region of the world.”
Training with the multinational Allied partners of the eFP Battle Group Poland ensures the ability to synchronize into effective warfighting units in all environments within the European theater.
“It is a great honor for us to be able to train with the Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Arkadiusz Postolowicz, Command Sgt. Maj. of the 5th Mazovian Brigade of the Polish Territorial Defense Force. “They are experts and have excellent skills, and together we want to train and improve our skills and professionalism.”
Ongoing training and exercises strengthens interoperability, synchronization and improves communication capabilities between U.S. forces and NATO allied forces to rapidly respond to deter or defend against aggression.
“The integration and interoperability of our combined forces during this training shows our NATO Allies our commitment to that alliance, and to the deterrence and defense of Poland,” said Noorlag. “Our alliance to the people of Poland, being a member of NATO Battlegroup Poland, we are here to integrate into a cohesive fighting force to defend against any adversary that may threaten any NATO alliance member or partner nations.”
The integration of new equipment, assets, vehicles, and technology, as well as the human element, is essential to strengthening the warfighting capabilities of eFP Battle Group Poland’s ability to defend the alliance throughout this region of the world.
“We want this equipment to be interoperable with the equipment of NATO allies, we are prepared for the process of strengthening the Polish armed forces to be very dynamic,” said Poland Deputy Prime Minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, who also serves as Minister of National Defense. “The fact that these vehicles are interoperable with the equipment of our allies, hence, it is no coincidence that next to the Borsuk armored fighting vehicle stands the American Bradley.”
The interoperability of warfighting units from differing nations brings about unforeseen complexities that can be overcome with extensive training with assets, tactics, and exercises. It enables unit cohesion and critical synchronization for a mechanized infantry multinational Alliance to react and overcome threats to the stability of the region.
“Interoperability sometimes means technical solutions, understanding of doctrine and tactics, but it always definitively involves a human element,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Sean M. Castilla, commander of Battle Group Poland and commander of 3-8 CAV, 3-1 ABCT. “That’s what is very important to me, is that my Soldier’s train with Polish armed forces and alongside our NATO allies, as much as possible, because that is what is at the core of interoperability.”
Soldiers in eFP Battle Group Poland enhance interoperability, build combat readiness and forge bonds with each other through training and exercises. The United States and the NATO Alliance of the eFP Battle Group Poland is prepared, equipped and committed to answer the call for the collective defense of Poland.
“The Romanians, the British, the Croatians, the Polish and the United States have sent their first teams to this Battle Group,” said Castilla. “We are prepared, we are united, and we are determined to answer NATO’s call, should this Battlegroup have to respond to defend our Allies and our alliances, as one team."