In light of the Trilateral Statement signed during the NATO Summit last September by Ministers of Defense of Denmark, Germany and Poland, the Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE) has been obliged to specify and strengthen cooperation with other NATO formations. One of the closest Corps’ supporters has been the Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), the NATO’s land component headquarters established in Izmir in 2010. The LANDCOM’s Commander, Lieutenant General John Nicholson paid a visit to the Baltic Barracks on the 10th of February to hold talks concerning mutual goals to achieve by LANDCOM and MNC NE in the short term.
According to the political decisions made in the recent months, MNC NE is about to upgrade its readiness and focus on the Baltic Sea Region. Therefore, a number of significant steps had to be made in cooperation with LANDCOM: "Cooperation is going exceptionally well as we were laying out the plan. For example, the manning of the Headquarters has resulted in a significant increase of personnel from many of the nations of NATO beyond the three Framework Nations. Those new personnel will be arriving this summer. I believe that resourcing and the planning is going well for this Headquarters,” said General Nicholson. He has observed the changes that MNC NE has been going through, but also has had a solid opinion about the Corps and its personnel. General Nicholson had an opportunity to work with the Corps’ Commander in Afghanistan for over a year, the Corps’ soldiers and the Polish Armed Forces in the past. He believes that the experienced staff the Corps possesses will enable to overcome every obstacle on a way to achieving high readiness: "The Corps is being asked to perform a mission as a corps headquarters, as a land component headquarters and as a joint task force headquarters. This is a similar challenge to that faced by the other NATO Corps. It is not insignificant. You have to organize yourself, which I think it’s done. You have to get right people here and they are on the way. The training program you have is also very good for the next year. That will help move things forward.”
While building foundation for the new, much more developed structure, the Corps has to rely on its personnel, which in this case, is a natural resource. Many MNC NE’s soldiers come from the Region and this indeed strengthens the Corps’ credibility. General Nicholson finds the mission of MNC NE quite exceptional in comparison to other NATO formations: ”Whereas the other Corps in NATO have deployable mission to leave their home base and go somewhere else, your Headquarters is focused on the region you live in. So, this enables the whole Alliance if we were called in an Article 5 collective defense to come to this region and help defend the Baltic States and Poland from aggression, we would build upon this level of understanding that this Headquarters has. And I think we would be more successful because of this Headquarters, because of the expertise, the knowledge and the understanding that you possess.”
General Nicholson has experienced the symbolic, first 100 days in the post of the LANDCOM’s Commander. Achieving the Full Operational Capability at the end of last year was the most significant challenge for the Izmir based LANDCOM. He also admits that the threats for security in Europe as well as beyond are crucial while organizing the priorities for LANDCOM: ”Now, we are very busy assessing those threats and how we need to organize ourselves and train ourselves to deal with them. That is my primary focus at the moment.”
Article by Agnieszka Szelega, POL CIV
Photos by Karol Sito, POL CIV
and CPL Benjamin Senkel, DEU, A