HOHENFELS, GERMANY----The Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) began its 2012 training schedule this month with the completion of a seventeen day Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) exercise.

Representatives from nine NATO nations braved the harsh Bavarian winter to prepare the latest group of NATO soldiers for a mission in Afghanistan.

Once in Afghanistan, OMLTs are embedded with a specific unit in the Afghan National Army (ANA) and provide training, mentorship, and liaison services to their Afghan counterparts. OMLTs range in size from twenty to thirty soldiers depending on the level of command being advised.
OMLTs are critical to the current NATO strategy which is to hand over security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the end of 2014.

As JMRC commander, Col. Jeff Martindale, told American Forces Press Service earlier this month, OMLTs "are the bridge between conventional forces from all NATO countries… and the Afghan national security forces."

JMRC plays a pivotal role, in OMLT training, by providing the venue and trainer expertise allowing NATO nations to conduct mission readiness training close to home and under the most professional and realistic conditions. JMRCs Observer/Controller-Trainer (O/C-T) teams provide constant assessment and feedback which, combined with digital and multimedia after-action reviews, enables training units to "see themselves" and attain proficiency in critical mission tasks. No other training center in Europe is currently equipped to host this training.

The combination of U.S. and multinational forces working together at JMRC offers a unique opportunity for all the military forces involved to benefit from each other's participation.

"Each nation has something special to offer such as: military skills, variety of equipment, and their culture. The ability to constantly partner with other NATO nations is what makes JMRC special," according to Lt. Col. Eliud Diaz, Executive Officer for JMRC's Grizzly O/C team which helped plan the training.

OMLTs must demonstrate a basic understanding of Counter Insurgency Operations (COIN) and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) conditions. OMLT training prepares soldiers to train, advise and enable the ANA while possessing the skills to survive on the battlefield.

Soldiers from Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Albania, Hungary, Slovenia, Netherlands and Bulgaria joined the United States in the training which was assisted by Romanian and Czech soldiers who replicated the ANSF.

The next OMLT training rotation is scheduled for this Spring.