SABER-GUARDIAN-16, the first major defence exercise after the recent NATO Warsaw Summit, opened on Wednesday at the Getica Romanian Land Force Combat Training Centre in Cincu, Romania, in the presence of Romania’s Defence Minister Mihnea Motoc, Chief of Romania’s Army Staff Nicolae Ciuca, as well as defence officials from the participating countries.
The exercise, stretching throughout August 7, is a perfect preview of the schedule of intensified exercises to be carried out starting in 2017, Defence Minister Motoc said.
“I am expecting this exercise to provide excellent verification of interoperability, an exercise that will validate opportunities for regional cooperation in the Black Sea zone, because we have here virtually all the NATO Black Sea partners (…). I expect good operation and camaraderie among a large number of attending detachments. There are five of Romania’s allies, five of Romania’s partners. Romania has registered 900 land troops, the US 1,700 plus military hardware, and there are also 40 Canadian soldiers with their own hardware, so the premises are all there for us to validate through this exercise also the level of the training facilities here at Cincu. I very much wanted to come, and I am here for the first time, not too early in my tenure, and I am glad I am doing it because I have talked about Cincu and what I call the Romanian triangle of training excellence that includes the firing ranges of Smardan and Babadag as well, with various people from the NATO leadership and leaders of NATO member states,” said Motoc.
He added that he is convinced that the investment in Cincu and the level achieved in terms of facilities will be confirmed by the exercise that started on Wednesday.
“What will be tested by this exercise is a fictitious scenario inspired by the reality we can all see south of the Eastern flank, in the enlarged Black Sea region, a scenario of instability and dynamic security developments that we all must be prepared to cope with. This is the first major defence exercise hosted by Romania after the recently concluded NATO Summit in Warsaw and a perfect preview of a schedule of intensified exercises to start off next year, an intensified training framework. It is part of the defence system set in place after the NATO Summit in terms of the land forces,” added Motoc.
He said he is convinced that wider ranging exercises will be conducted in the future at Cincu and other Romanian firing ranges.
“This is a demanding exercise, but I am convinced it will conclude with positive and useful results for the period immediately ahead,” said Motoc.
Exercise co-director Robert Bertrand mentioned that this is a complex multinational exercise that involves people and hardware alike. He said the exercise will get tougher by the day, and that the M1 A2 Abrams tank imported from the US, one of the world’s most famous, will also be used in the exercise.
Chief of Romania’s Army Staff Nicolae Ciuca pointed out that a capability has been reached at Cincu that allows connection with similar training centres in Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Bulgaria, both in virtual matters as well as in terms of command and control, which secures both virtual and real-life training opportunities, including live ammo shootings.
Attending SABER-GUARDIAN-16 are more than 2,700 soldiers from five NATO member states – Bulgaria, Canada, Poland, Romania and the US as well as five members of the NATO Partnership for Peace – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
DefMin Motoc: Romania to join efforts of Coalition against Islamic State of Iraq, Syria with 50 servicepersons
Romania will concretely contribute 50 servicepersons to the efforts of the Coalition fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria who will enter the theatre of war on an advisory mission, National Defence Minister Mihnea Motoc said at Cincu on Wednesday, where he attended the opening ceremony of a SABER-GUARDIAN-16 defence exercise.
“As early as February, we committed ourselves based on an approval by Romania’s Parliament to concretely contribute to the efforts of the Coalition fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Our contribution consists of 50 trainers for the special operation forces in Iraq, for military intelligence in Iraq. These future trainers are about to complete specialised training, after which we have to conclude a few formalities before deploying them to the theatre of war on an advisory mission,” Motoc explained.
According to the minister, the servicepersons will be able to join the theatre of war early autumn.
NATO multinational brigade to be built around existing Romanian core
The NATO multinational brigade to be established in Romania will be built around an already existing Romanian brigade with a very high training level as per NATO standards, and equipped with modern war technology, Minister of National Defence Mihnea Motoc said on Thursday at the Victoria Palace of Government.
“The multinational brigade will be built around a core represented by an existing Romanian brigade. I cannot reveal its location to you, but it exists. Moreover, the currently more than 3,000-strong force boasts a high training level as per NATO standards and is also equipped with modern combat hardware,” Motoc told a press conference delivered jointly with Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu on Romania’s commitments after the NATO Summit in Warsaw.
Motoc said there had been an increased interest by the allies to participate in this brigade.
“Speaking of the number of allies who could (…) be interested in the multinational brigade, during Brussels ongoing talks, I noticed a high interest for (…) the security force in the south of the eastern flank. (…) There is also a growing interest as to Romania’s position as a protagonist in strengthening allied security in the south of the eastern flank. Evidently they realize we are serious, predictable and carry through the undertaken commitments. All this will certainly translate into a real multinational structure of the brigade,” Motoc said.
According to him, apart from Poland and Bulgaria, talks are afoot with at least another four allies to participate in this brigade.
“Speaking only about the multinational brigade, as the President of Romania has already said, there are clear signals of interest from at least six allies; I say at least six, because some with whom we started discussions have so to say electoral deadlines in the immediate future and the talks begun still need confirmation. But there are six allies, two of whom are already known to you, with their announced contributions, namely Poland with which we practically exchange companies – we participate in the combat group there, they contribute a company in our multinational brigade – and Bulgaria that promised up to 400 troops. Serious talks are underway with another 4 allies who expressed a clear interest and willingness to join our multinational framework brigade,” said Motoc.