U.S. Army Lieutenant General Roger L. Cloutier, Commander of Allied Land Command was on site watching that fire mission, one of many he would observe as the NATO Senior Trainer on the ground during the exercise. Part of LANDCOM's mission is to enable combat readiness and interoperability in NATO's land forces, and Dynamic Front was the latest opportunity for him to see allies in action. During his visit personally witnessed the actions of crews from Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, the U.S., and even NATO partner Ukraine.
This is really about ensuring that we as NATO allies and partners are interoperable, that we are operating within the same processes and procedures and it's really it's also about human interoperability,
said Lieutenant General Cloutier. "This right now is about fine tuning our ability to work together."
Dynamic Front 21, which ran from May 2 - 21, involved over 1,800 soldiers representing 15 nations, including partner nations. The live-fire portion of the exercise took place May 17-21 in Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, and Torun, Poland – and involved approximately 70 artillery systems from participating countries.
Crew members from 2nd Platoon, Bulldog Battery, Field Artillery Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment execute a fire mission during Dynamic Front 21.
Of the allied nations participating were the nine current members of Artillery Systems Cooperation Agreement (ASCA), which include Denmark, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, and the United States. Spain is poised to be the 10th member following certification at Dynamic Front 21. ASCA is a digital protocol that essentially enables artillery units from multiple nations to exchange digital data and execute each other's fire missions.
"This exercise is really based around the ASCA, agreement that means [the mission] goes from the sensor to the best shooter," said Lieutenant General Cloutier during an interview with reporters.
Allied Land Command Commander, Lieutenant General Roger Cloutier, presents coins for excellence to members of Romania's 81st HIMARS Battalion and their American Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) counterparts during Dynamic Front 21.
Dynamic Front 21 is a 7th Army Training Command-led, U.S. Army Europe and Africa-directed exercise designed to increase readiness, lethality and interoperability by employing allied and partner nations' ability to integrate joint fires in a multinational environment at both the operational and tactical levels. German Army Lieutenant General Andreas Marlowe, commander of Münster-based 1st German-Netherlands Corps, lauded the U.S. Army's efforts to make joint fires a truly multinational capability in NATO during an interview with Stars and Stripes.
"For us, non-U.S. NATO allies, I personally think the U.S. is always setting the benchmark, so we have to see where we are."
For Lieutenant General Cloutier, the future of Dynamic Front will go beyond just multinational artillery units working together.
"This is a fires exercise. But, as we continue to develop this, we're going to incorporate a lot more maneuver - a lot more support elements," he said. "And it's really about what we, as NATO LANDCOM, who is responsible for synchronisation of all [NATO's] land forces activities, [are doing to] be synchronised with U.S. Army Europe and Africa ... so that in the event we have to go into crisis or conflict we are ready to work together, we are lethal, and we can fight."
A German artillery office briefs Allied Land Command commander Lieutenant General Roger Cloutier on operations inside the multinational tactical operations center (TOC) during Dynamic Front 21.
For U.S. Army Captain Vincent S. Christiano, commander of A Battery, 4-319 Field Artillery, the exercise proved the concept that ASCA sets out to achieve: interoperability in multinational fires.
"With so many alliance forces here in Grafenwoehr and in Toruń, Poland, the fact that we can get different observers — it doesn't matter who it's coming from — synergised…through the ASCA device, and push it through to different NATO allies, including the United States, and into fire missions…is absolutely fantastic. It's to build interoperability through the European theater," he said.
Allied Land Command Commander Lieutenant General Roger Cloutier speaks with members of A Battery, 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment following a fire mission.
Allied Land Command commander, Lieutenant General Roger Cloutier, visits with an Italian Artillery unit just before they execute a fire mission with their Panzer 2000 self propelled Howitzers.
Italian Army Panzer 2000s prepare for a fire mission.
Commander of 1st German Netherlands Corps, Lieutenant General Andreas Marlowe, participates in discussions with Allied Land Command commander, Lieutenant General Roger Cloutier, and leaders from 7th Army Training Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, and the Joint Maneuver Training Center.
Major General Metin Tokel, Chief of Staff for Allied Land Command, participates in discussions alongside the commander of 1st German Netherlands Corps, Lieutenant General Andreas Marlowe; Allied Land Command commander, Lieutenant General Roger Cloutier; and leaders from 7th Army Training Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, and the Joint Maneuver Training Center (JMRC).