BYDGOSZCZ, Poland — The scenarios are classified but the results are not.
Exercise Loyal Leda 2022, a combat readiness evaluation exercise, has certified NATO Rapid Deployable Corps - Turkiye as the alliance’s warfighting corps for 2023.
The 10-day combat readiness evaluation exercise hosted at the NATO Joint Force Training Centre in Poland from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9 is an Allied Land Command-sponsored, land domain, tactical level, virtual command post exercise.
“The Loyal Leda series of exercises is one of the premier annual training events for the Joint Force Training Centre as well as NATO,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jennifer Gotie, JFTC Training Division. “Developed using state-of-the-art, computer-based simulation and tailored scenarios, participants are immersed in simulated reality allowing them to build on existing relationships as well as identify gaps and develop greater interoperability.”
“Additionally, it provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen our partnerships with non-NATO nations, providing a platform to work shoulder to shoulder to deliver unified effects. Exercises like Loyal Leda continue to reinforce why NATO is the most powerful alliance on the planet,” said Gotie.
U.S. Soldiers are embedded in every echelon of the NATO command structure and serve alongside service members from partner nations in critical roles. In many cases NATO units also serve a critical role in the host nation force structure.
“Exercise Loyal Leda is important to NRDC Turkiye for two reasons: One it fully incorporates the experience they’ve been building as a NATO headquarters, but it also incorporates the experience they have as a national headquarters,” said U.S. Army Maj. Adrian Nelson, NRDC - Turkiye G7 chief of training. “Their 3rd Corps Turkiye is bringing that to the table, and they’re demonstrating their capabilities to NATO. And now NATO can use that experience to its fullest extent.”
“This exercise is also important because of the relationships we’re building here. We will be able to use and call on this exercise and the people here to renew that relationship again when needed,” said Nelson.
U.S. Army Maj. Steven D. Hansen, Allied Land Command G9, said the exercise showed the continued importance for joint multinational training in NATO.
“The exercise demonstrated the challenges of fighting in multi-domain, high-intensity conflict while in a multinational environment,” said Hansen. “NRDC-Turkiye and Multinational Corps - Southeast along with the other training audiences were able to dynamically work through problems and accomplish their missions in tight, constrained environments.”
“Exercises like Loyal Leda not only train staffs and soldiers but bring member nations of the alliance closer together to enhance NATO cooperation and partnership,” said Hansen. “The cooperation, partnership, and ultimately trust in our fellow alliance members is one of the strongest take-aways from the exercise. Loyal Leda and other simulation exercises are a base line for ensuring NATO is ready to deter any threat the alliance will face in the future.”
NATO Rapid Deployable Corps - Spain was NRDC — Turkiye’s simulated partner corps on their left flank during the exercise.
“The importance of Loyal Leda is the opportunity to train the largest land maneuver effort in NATO. With multiple corps, the real formation would probably exceed a hundred thousand soldiers,” said U.S. Army Maj. Robert Payne, NRDC - Spain G3. “My organization being part of that training effort provides us the best insight in how to enhance our ability to: one, be part of that massive multinational land force and two, improve our processes based off the lessons learned we get by training.”
“The biggest benefit of this exercise to the alliance members is without a doubt that everybody in the scenario is thinking together, we are problem solving together, as iron sharpens iron, we are sharpening our forces through this interaction,” said Payne. “That’s the win for America and in fact all our partner nations participating today.”
Some of the participants in the exercise had the opportunity to practice some new skills.
“This was the first time I’ve had to practice actual hands-on frequency management,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Christian Martinez, Allied Land Command current operations NCO. “But the best part of the exercise was seeing the bigger picture, seeing how various scenarios would play out should NATO have to respond to an emerging crisis.”
U.S. Army Maj. Joseph Davis, a simulated media planner with JFTC, said the JFTC experience is a wonderful opportunity to get the sort of multinational interoperability experience rarely found at typical assignments.
NATO has two major training centers that share the workload for virtual exercises involving multiple units, the Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger Norway and the Joint Force Training Center.
“Cohesion is the center of gravity for NATO and this was a truly cohesive event. By accomplishing Loyal Leda 2022 exercise, we have contributed to strengthening NATO’s unity and have helped increase allied interoperability both procedurally and culturally,” said German Army Maj. Gen. Norbert Wagner, JFTC commanding general. “Thanks to the remarkable engagement of all participating headquarters, the exercise was a great demonstration of NATO’s warfighting capabilities.”
The mission of U.S. Army NATO Brigade is to provide ready and resilient Soldiers to the NATO alliance by ensuring U.S. Army Soldiers and their families assigned to NATO billets receive the support they need to thrive in a variety of environments at 81 locations in 22 countries across Europe.
More information about U.S. Army NATO Brigade is available on their website.