Posts Tagged ‘NATO’

Gen. Craddock Says: Leave Troops, Nukes in Europe

January 21, 2009

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NATO Supreme Allied Commander – Europe (SACEUR) General Bantz Craddock has endorsed recommendations by a special Pentagon commission which confirmed the need to retain US nuclear weapons in Europe.

General Craddock, who previously served as Commander, US Army Europe, also said the U.S. command needs to retain four Army brigades, instead of cutting to two as has been proposed, and needs to retain current Air Force and Navy force levels.

Read more on Gen. Craddock’s remarks at Government Executive

Technology prepares NATO Soldiers in Northern Europe

January 16, 2009

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 U.S. Army Garrison Benelux may not have the armor power of Fort Hood, Texas, or the infantry forces of Fort Bragg, N.C., but when it comes to technology, its installations are equipped with some of the Army’s best automation equipment: The Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 and Northern Europe’s only Digital Training Facility.

The Army deployed the EST 2000, a digital marksmanship training tool, to installations around the world at the turn of the century. Chièvres Air Base, in Belgium, and USAG Schinnen, in the Netherlands, were among the recipients of the platform. Both garrisons provide training support to NATO servicemembers stationed in their regions.

The EST 2000 allows troops to practice firing the small arms in their unit’s inventory, using scenarios appropriate to the unit’s mission.

Luiz Velez, a training support specialist at the Chièvres EST, recently taught Soldiers from the USAG Benelux Military Police, 650th Military Intelligence Group and the U.S. Army NATO SHAPE Battalion how to operate the system.

“The training allows Soldiers more flexibility, he said, “so now they can train anytime they want.” They don’t have to draw ammo or have a safety officer present, he added.

The diversity of the EST 2000 allowed the noncommissioned officers to adjust the downrange scenarios to a situation appropriate for their line of work.

“I’ve used this [weapon] in a deployed environment, and this is a great way to train,” said Staff Sgt. John Phillips, a training NCO with 650th MI Group.

Phillips had only been at SHAPE for two months when he received the operator training, but he could already see how it was going to benefit his unit. The 650th MI Group is made up of Soldiers and civilians who deploy downrange, and while the Soldiers attend basic training and learn the ins-and-outs of certain weapons, civilians don’t have those same requirements.

Phillips said the EST 2000 is a great way to keep civilians prepared for their missions. “It ensures you don’t lose familiarity,” he said.

In addition to training scenarios like encountering an enemy or friendly helicopter or facing a desert ambush, the computer-based platform allows Velez and the new operators to control other elements.

“You can design your own type of scenarios,” he said. “You can change the weather and the daylight experience.”

Another benefit of the EST 2000 is the immediate feedback. Following a one- to two-minute exercise, the monitor displays shots fired, hits, misses, percentages and more, allowing the training NCOIC to adjust accordingly for individual Soldier’s needs.

“It’s good for Soldiers in the unit who haven’t fired in a while,” said Sgt. Joe Daley, USAG Benelux MP, adding that it helps them perfect their skills and prepare for weapons qualification.

In addition to maintaining marksmanship skills, as Soldiers’ careers progress and as Army systems evolve to support ever-changing missions, the Army requires additional schooling like the Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course and Medical Protection System.

Living on the other side of the planet can make traveling to military schools in the States challenging and expensive for those working with NATO, which is one of the reasons the Army launched the Distributed Learning System.

“Distributed Learning leverages technology to bring training to Soldiers anytime, anywhere,” said Brett Anderson, the Digital Training Facility manager at Chièvres Air Base.

“Army-wide there are 200 DTFs around the world. All of the DTFs can link with one another to facilitate training that takes place at a single location,” he added.

The recently-upgraded DTF at Chièvres Air Base, operated by the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command, is the only one in Northern Europe, and therefore services every unit within the USAG Benelux’s seven-nation footprint.

At the DTF, Servicemembers, civilians, military and DoD Family members and some foreign military personnel can take part in Web-based training, Video Teletraining and more.

“Some of the courses delivered via VTT are BNCOC Phase I, Battle Staff Non-commissioned Officer Course, and MEDPROS,” said Anderson.

“The DTF is also set-up like any traditional classroom, and resident training can be conducted using technology such as PowerPoint presentations, CD-ROM, DVD in tandem with multi-media projectors available at the facility,” he added.

Aside from professional development, the DTF is available for Army e-Learning courses. Army e-Learning offers thousands of free course hours in a variety of languages like Dutch and French, using Rosetta Stone. It also provides training in business skills, system administration, office systems and more.

“Soldiers may access these resources using any computer,” said Anderson. “The DTF, however, provides a clean, quiet place free of distractions where soldiers can complete their online training requirements.”

Anderson encouraged units and individuals in the region to use the free resource. “In doing so, money is saved, readiness is increased through training standardization and morale is improved as families no longer have to endure long separations when possible,” he said.

Christie Vanover

Nations Gather to Prep for Black Sea Interoperability Exercise

December 14, 2008

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Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, hosted representatives of 11 nations Dec. 2-4 for the initial planning conference for the 37th annual Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel.

BALTOPS 2009 will take place in the Baltic Sea June 8-19, 2009 and is the largest international exercise organized in the Baltic.

The purpose of BALTOPS is to promote mutual understanding and maritime interoperability between U.S. Navy, NATO and Partnership for Peace (PFP) participants through a series of multilateral training exercises. Carrier Strike Group 12 is assigned as the primary planning, coordination and execution command for the exercise.

For the 2009 BALTOPS exercise, 12 countries are scheduled to participate: Estonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“The purpose of BALTOPS is to bring all of the nations together in one exercise,” said Cmdr. J.G. Olaf Albrecht, the head of the delegation from the German Navy Fleet Headquarters. “We learn how other navies work and how to live together in the Baltic Sea, especially the nations which are former Soviet nations such as Lithuania and Latvia. It’s a very educational experience.”

The initial planning conference is only one step in the preparation for a successful BALTOPS.

“We have more planning conferences left; the main planning conference will be hosted in Germany,” said Lt. Sam Bethune, Carrier Strike Group 12 exercise lead planner for BALTOPS. “And the final planning conference will be hosted by Poland. Not only are these nations helping to plan the exercise, but they’re hosting our conferences so we can learn a little bit about their country and culture as we do the planning.”

BALTOPS is an important experience because it improves interoperability among the participating nations and creates forces that are able to easily integrate into multinational, multiwarfare operations.

“It’s a great exercise and a great experience for everybody who will take part because it’s unique,” said Albrecht. “Normally, we don’t train with the United States, so this is the only time we have training with Americans inside the Baltic. It’s a very important thing.”

Through the dedication and the hard work of everyone involved, Bethune hopes this upcoming BALTOPS will be as successful as the previous 36 BALTOPS.

“We had great participation at this conference,” said Bethune. “We hope for even better participation at our next conference in Germany. We accomplished all of our goals, so we’re moving ahead in pretty good shape. It was a very successful event, and having it here in downtown Norfolk was a treat.”

Clark Meredith (NNS)

General James Jones’ Pick Contradicts Obama’s Energy Policies

December 13, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009
Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.
President-elect Obama’s choice of retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones to be his national security adviser raises questions about possible tensions within the incoming administration over two potentially competing national interests: increasing “energy security” and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, writes Inside Defense.

Though Jones was chosen for his extensive military experience, he comes to the key foreign-policy position with a recent background in energy policy and has been an outspoken advocate for increasing all forms of domestic energy production, including fossil fuels, for security reasons — a stance that has troubled environmentalists and others who support aggressive action on climate change.

Read more at www.insidedefense.com (paid subscription required)

US & Partners Initiate NATO Training Federation

December 5, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

NATO and U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) officials recently completed the first use of a new jointly-developed Alliance modeling and simulation (M&S) training capability in Suffolk, Virginia.

Exercise Steadfast Joiner was a computer-assisted command post exercise to train and evaluate NATO’s Response Force (NRF) 12 and showcased the first use of the Joint Multi-Resolution Model (JMRM) Federation, NATO’s constructive simulation training capability and a central component in the NATO Training Federation (NTF).

Army Lt. Col. John Janiszewski, chief, USJFCOM Joint Warfighting Center (JWFC) Technical Development and Innovation Branch, said USJFCOM assisted NATO with the development of the critical M&S capability. 

“Project Snow Leopard is NATO’s initiative to develop a distributed network linking NATO organizations, nations, and partners in order to enhance distributed training, education, and experimentation,” said Janiszewski.  “Over a two year period our team worked closely with NATO’s Allied Command Transformation and the Joint Warfare Centr to develop, test and field this training capability. 

“The Steadfast Joiner exercise is a major milestone for NATO and its 26 member nations that validated the NATO Training Federation as a viable training tool for NATO,” said Janiszewski.

He explained that the JMRM is a modeling and simulation federation consisting of two models, the Joint Theater Level Simulation (JTLS) and the Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation (JCATS).  This federation allows an organization to train from the operational level of war down to the tactical level of war.

USJFCOM’s Joint Warfighting Center manages both models and used them in the past to train U.S. forces.

“NATO was exercising a unit using fictional scenario. The units develop plans that were then input into the simulation,” Janiszewski said. “The simulation replicated the interaction or conflict between NATO forces, civilians and opposing forces.  The simulation then provided the results of the interaction to the training audience.”

He said using the NTF enables NATO to train their forces more effectively before deploying to a theater of operations like Afghanistan.

“This gives them a means into which they can certify forces as being ready to execute their warfighting mission,” he said.

According to Janiszewski, USJFCOM will continue working with NATO to enhance and refine the NTF.

F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

December 3, 2008

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter or JSF is the next-generation multirole strike fighter aircraft of the US Air Force, US Navy, and US Marine Corps.

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Allied Air Patrols Secure, Reassure Baltic States

November 24, 2008

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U.S. Air Force pilots and aircraft maintainers with the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron hold a high standard of readiness and a constant vigil at Siauliai (Lithuania), ready to police the sovereign airspace of the Baltic nations at a moment’s notice. 

To perform this NATO air defense mission, the aircrews are expected to be in the air within minutes after lights and sirens indicate a threat is imminent; leaving the pilots and maintainers of the 493rd EFS little room for error. 

“The pilot-crew chief relationship is extremely important,” said Capt. Andrew Carlson, 493rd EFS pilot. “There’s no voice communication (for a launch here), only signals.” He explained once he receives the “go-ahead” signal from the crew chief, he knows his jet is ready to launch. 

Maintainers and aircrew are on 24-hour standby, awaiting an alert. Once the signal is given, separate crews, consisting of a pilot and three crew chiefs, sprint out to the jets and prepare to launch. The F-15 Eagles are normally in the air within 5 to 10 minutes. 

“Once we show up for duty, after the mission brief, we head out to the jets and make sure they’re set up the way we like,” Captain Carlson said. “When the jets are in alert status, our helmets are already in the jets and connected.” 

He said the pilots configure their flight gear, including G-suit and harness, to make sure they can make the quick response requirements. 

“We have the stuff hanging right outside our door,” said Capt. Carlson. “It only takes about a minute to get all of our gear on.” 

If weather permits, the Airmen here do practice daily, allowing them to sharpen their quick response skills. 

During these exercises, they practice mock scrambles and one-on-one intercepts. They learn tactics and communication tools to intercept any bogey, whether a friendly aircraft or a high-jacked commercial plane, in the airspace over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

T.K. Larson

Greater EU-NATO Military Cooperation Needed

November 13, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009


Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

NATO and the European Union need to overcome their political differences and increase cooperation on military matters, according to officials from both organizations.

Both the trans-Atlantic alliance and the EU are in a transition phase in regard to security matters: NATO is debating whether to expand eastward, and in Afghanistan it is embroiled in one of its most difficult military operations to date. The 27-member EU in recent years welcomed in new member states and is debating how its European Security and Defense Policy should look in the future.

Read more at UPI

Navy Ships Team with Allied Partners During Joint Warrior

October 31, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009

Naval Calendar 2009

Our Naval Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US Navy and allied naval forces in action. Buy the Naval Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Ships led by the commander of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24 learned a little more about interoperability while participating in the Joint Warrior Course, a multinational exercise held off the coast of Scotland, in October.

The exercise allows NATO and coalition navies to explore complex, real-world scenarios while operating in a multi-platform environment.

For U.S. and British ships involved in the exercise, Joint Warrior was a unique opportunity to work together with allied partners while providing each other with key services and logistical support.

“If we take anything away from this exercise it is that we are stronger by working together and leveraging the strengths each one of us has,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gil Ayan, the DESRON 24 material officer. “One of the great ways to create a bond is at the personal level.”

One specific example of how the ships teamed together involved a Sailor from the guided-missile frigate USS Doyle (FFG 39).

Fireman Ben Stamps, a member of Doyle’s engineering department, was transported by helicopter to HMS Ark Royal (RO7) to undergo dental work that his ship couldn’t perform while at sea.

“I had a lot of swelling and sharp aching pain,” said Stamps. “Ark Royal was out operating with us, and they volunteered to help me out.”

Stamps said his situation shows how the two navies operate as one team while working in a joint environment.

“They (Royal Navy) have taken me in as one of their own and set me up with everything I needed,” said Stamps. “They did an excellent job.”

In addition to supporting each other with services, the two navies worked together to solve many logistical issues. Everything from parts to people were transferred between the U.S. and Royal Navy ships to accomplish the mission.

The fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195), which accompanied the other ships assigned to DESRON 24 to Scotland for Joint Warrior, spent the entire exercise conducting underway replenishments with ships of both navies, showcasing the interoperability between allied maritime forces.

“Complex and robust units — air, surface and under-sea forces — were operating together during Joint Warrior,” said Ayan. “It speaks to how well our coalition nations work together. We have more things in common than things that are different. If we deploy together as a multinational force in the future, we’ll be ready because of exercises like this.”

Joint Warrior is a multinational exercise designed and run by the United Kingdom’s Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS). Taking part in Joint Warrior with DESRON 24 were USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195); the guided-missile frigates USS Doyle (FFG 39), USS Hawes (FFG 53) and USS Klakring (FFG 42); and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57).

Ships led by the commander of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24 learned a little more about interoperability while participating in the Joint Warrior Course, a multinational exercise held off the coast of Scotland, in October.

The exercise allows NATO and coalition navies to explore complex, real-world scenarios while operating in a multi-platform environment.

For U.S. and British ships involved in the exercise, Joint Warrior was a unique opportunity to work together with allied partners while providing each other with key services and logistical support.

“If we take anything away from this exercise it is that we are stronger by working together and leveraging the strengths each one of us has,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gil Ayan, the DESRON 24 material officer. “One of the great ways to create a bond is at the personal level.”

One specific example of how the ships teamed together involved a Sailor from the guided-missile frigate USS Doyle (FFG 39).

Fireman Ben Stamps, a member of Doyle’s engineering department, was transported by helicopter to HMS Ark Royal (RO7) to undergo dental work that his ship couldn’t perform while at sea.

“I had a lot of swelling and sharp aching pain,” said Stamps. “Ark Royal was out operating with us, and they volunteered to help me out.”

Stamps said his situation shows how the two navies operate as one team while working in a joint environment.

“They (Royal Navy) have taken me in as one of their own and set me up with everything I needed,” said Stamps. “They did an excellent job.”

In addition to supporting each other with services, the two navies worked together to solve many logistical issues. Everything from parts to people were transferred between the U.S. and Royal Navy ships to accomplish the mission.

The fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195), which accompanied the other ships assigned to DESRON 24 to Scotland for Joint Warrior, spent the entire exercise conducting underway replenishments with ships of both navies, showcasing the interoperability between allied maritime forces.

“Complex and robust units — air, surface and under-sea forces — were operating together during Joint Warrior,” said Ayan. “It speaks to how well our coalition nations work together. We have more things in common than things that are different. If we deploy together as a multinational force in the future, we’ll be ready because of exercises like this.”

Joint Warrior is a multinational exercise designed and run by the United Kingdom’s Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS). Taking part in Joint Warrior with DESRON 24 were USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195); the guided-missile frigates USS Doyle (FFG 39), USS Hawes (FFG 53) and USS Klakring (FFG 42); and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57).

Joseph Wax (NNS)

NATO deploys naval unit to counter pirates

October 17, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009

Naval Calendar 2009

Our Naval Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US Navy and European naval forces in action. Buy the Naval Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

A NATO naval operation deployed to the Horn of Africa Wednesday as part of an effort to counter the growing threat from pirates off the coast of Somalia.

NATO officials say seven ships have been deployed in response to a United Nations request to address an escalating security situation in Somalia’s coastal waters, NATO reported.

Read more at UPI