U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) began its Europe exercise series May 10 with the start of joint exercise Immediate Response in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. Immediate Response, a freedom of movement exercise, is the first of six, long-planned USEUCOM exercises scheduled to occur in Europe between May and September 2019.
USEUCOM’s exercise series brings together NATO allies and partners to enhance interoperability across borders and to deter adversaries. The goal of the exercise series, referred to as the Joint Exercise Program (JEP), is to “produce trained joint forces ready to enable and execute a full range of military missions,” said Maj. Gen. John Healy, director of USEUCOM’s exercises and assessments directorate. “This is in concert with our allies and partners to secure U.S. national interests, deter Russian aggression and support a Europe that is stable and secure.”
The command’s exercises are carried out by the combatant command and its components to enhance U.S. readiness to accomplish any mission required while fulfilling NATO treaty obligations. Additionally, the training improves U.S. military capabilities and enhances coordination and synchronization with interagency partners. Now through September 2019, six exercises will be hosted by USEUCOM and more than 20 exercises will be hosted by the component commands. The exercises will take place in Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and the Ukraine.
Across the 51-country area of responsibility, USEUCOM’s approximately 70,000 service members and civilians engage with European partners and NATO allies to strengthen regional relationships.
The following is a list of EUCOM-hosted exercises:
- May 10-30: Immediate Response occurs in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia and is focused on combined training with Croatia and Slovenia. It is designed to demonstrate freedom of movement and operational command and control, interoperability, and leverage strategic mobility to respond to an emerging contingency.
- June 4-10: Astral Knight occurs in Croatia, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, and is a bi-annual Integrated Air and Missile Defense Capstone Exercise focused on conducting defense of key terrain. Training will involve a combination of flight operations and computer-assisted scenarios.
- June 3-24: Saber Guardian occurs in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, and is a multinational brigade level event focusing on defensive operations and interoperability with NATO countries.
- July 1-12: Sea Breeze occurs in Ukraine and the western Black Sea, and is a joint U.S., Ukrainian sponsored maritime field training exercise (FTX) focusing on maritime security in support of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.
- July 29 to Aug. 19: Agile Spirit occurs in Georgia, and focuses on peacekeeping, support operations and NATO response force operations in response to regional crises.
- Sept. 16-20: Northern Challenge occurs in Iceland, and focuses on rendering safe improvised explosive and sabotage devices.
Exercises in the USEUCOM area of responsibility allow USEUCOM’s components to strengthen solidarity with allies and partners; increase transparency to build understanding among neighboring countries; and align collective efforts across borders.
“Exercises like Immediate Response are critical to building readiness and interoperability among our forces, strengthening the alliance and promoting security and stability in the Black Sea and Balkan region,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander, U.S. Army Europe. “The level of multinational cooperation demonstrated here at Immediate Response is a credit to our host nations – Croatia and Slovenia – who have hosted this exercise for several years.” Cavoli went on to add that the two countries have been instrumental in growing it from the small command post exercise it began as, to the premier multi-domain logistical and airborne training opportunity it has become.
U.S. European Command is one of two U.S. forward-deployed geographic combatant commands whose area of focus spans across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The command comprises of approximately 70,000 military and civilian personnel and is responsible for U.S. defense operations, relations with NATO and 51 countries. For more information about U.S. European Command, visit https://www.eucom.mil/.