Elbląg, Poland - the history of Multinational Division North East (MND-NE) began in 2016 during the NATO Summit in Warsaw. The summit resulted in the creation of our headquarters and four enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Groups in the Baltics and Poland. The eFPs are independent, multinational, battalion sized battle groups formed by framework countries - the United States in Poland, Germany in Lithuania and Canada in Latvia and the United Kingdom in Estonia. Headquarters, Multinational Division North East, a measure adopted by the NATO ministers, was created to coordinate the activities of the eFP battle groups and be capable of operating in accordance with Article V of the Washington Treaty.
The formation of the division's headquarters began in April 2017 at Łęczycka St. in Elbląg. After three months, on June 28, the flags of all NATO member states were ceremonially raised over the barracks. And on June 30, the command achieved its Initial Operational Capability. While the headquarters achieved its IOC, it still had one more task, integration into the surrounding community. On July 3, the soldiers of Multinational Division North East participated in a welcome ceremony in the old town.
During the following months, MND-NE soldiers were intensely preparing for the certification that awaited them in future - they worked tirelessly developing documentation, standard operational procedures, and many times, had to develop of solutions to challenges that had not been present in the Alliance before. During this period of time, documents and procedures were checked during staff trainings and exercises in Poland and abroad.
Starting in January 2018, our soldiers participated in a series of exercise to prepare us for our Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL) in June 2018. First was exercise “Allied Spirit” in Hohenfels, Germany. This exercise allowed our headquarters to work through its procedures and familiarize operating together. This was followed in May 2018 by Exercise “Saber Strike – 18.” This was the most important test before the CREVAL. During Saber Strike, the command soldiers trained in the Field Command Post together with representatives of the Multinational Corps Northeast, Americans from the 7th Mission Support Command stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany, as well as representatives of several Polish Army commands and military units.
The Headquarters’ certification formally began in June 2018. CREVAL, which is administered by Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), located in Izmir, Turkey, evaluates a unit’s ability to meet NATO standards and verify they are ready for combat operations. The certification of the command consisted of several phases lasting from June to October 2018. In June the headquarters focused on conducting planning for Exercise "Anaconda – 18.” Four months later in October, the first phase took place in which our headquarters reviewed our procedures and checked the equipment to ensure it would operate during the exercise. The second phase of the certification took place during "Anaconda" in which the command was assessed on how it operated during high-intensity combat operations.
Five different areas were audited and 1400 indicators were assessed by a team organized LANDCOM during Anaconda. The team included representatives from LANDCOM, Multinational Corps Northeast, Multinational Division South-East, NATO Rapid Deployable Corps from Turkey and Spain, and the Operational Command of the Polish Armed Forces.
On December 6, 2018 upon completion of exercise “Anakonda 18”, we achieved our goal of achieving Full Operational Capability when LGEN John C. Thomson III, commander, LANDCOM said - "Multinational Division North East Headquarters is ready for action".
It was the words that every soldier of MND-NE had been waiting to hear since the command first formed in April 2017.
However, our soldiers knew certification was not the end goal. In the following years, they improved their operational procedures by testing them during battle staff trainings and exercises such as "Dragon - 19" in Poland or "Arrcade Fusion" in Great Britain. During the "Dragon", the command moved the Tactical Command Post to the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, acting as a High Command (HICON) during the certification of the VJTF-20 Brigade (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force), which is part of the NATO 2020 Response Force. The “Arrcade Fusion” exercise carried out in the fall of 2019 was organized by the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC). During this exercise the soldiers of the MND-NE, together with their colleagues from Great Britain, formed one of the HICON cells.
At the end of 2019, the Headquarters moved to a permanent location at Podchorążych St. in Elbląg, a site suitable of its status as a Multinational Divisional Headquarters.
And 2020 started off with a new chapter in the security of NATO's eastern flank. On January 29, 2020, the Lithuanian "Iron Wolf" brigade and the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade joined MND-NE. It happened after signing the Affiliate Act in Vilnius, Lithuania. The division continues to tighten cooperation and further interoperability with brigades and battle groups. These activities are successfully implemented by strengthening relations and integration between the eFP battalions in Lithuania and Poland, and with the defense forces of the host countries with the support and cooperation with the US military. This can be seen in the main training events that took place this year. From the largest exercise planned on the European continent since the end of the Cold War, "Defender Europe - 20" where MND-NE soldiers took part in the planning phase, with four brigades under their subordination - two Polish, and a German and Spanish brigade. The next major exercise for the command was "Dzik - 20", under which the 15th Mechanized Brigade was certified. In October we worked with our Czech allies supporting their exercise “Decisive Vision-20” in the Czech Republic. And we also deployed our tactical operations command to Lithuania to support our affiliated brigade, Iron Wolf and their eFP battlegroup. The year’s training ended with exercise "Amber Desire - 20". A short notice excise designed check the ability of our command to quickly deploy and move abroad in a short amount of time. Throughout 2020 the command participated in numerous exercises and worked tirelessly to improve cooperation and interoperability with our NATO allies and our affiliated subordinate commands.
December 6, 2020, Multinational Division North East Headquarters celebrates the second anniversary of achieving its Full Operational Capability. “We have come a long way.” - MGEN Krzysztof Motacki says to his soldiers - “Since FOC, we have not stopped working to better ourselves. I am proud of each of you. You work hard doing your duties with full commitment. Every day you give an example of the truthfulness of our motto - "Facta, non verba" - acts, not words”.
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