NATO’s Maritime Command gathered 160 participants from 19 countries, including Partnership for Peace (PFP) countries Finland and Sweden, for the annual two-week long Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) tactical-level Mine Counter Measure (MCM) Command Post Exercise (CPX) which started March 7.
The exercise is hosted by the Belgium-Netherlands Naval Mine Warfare School EGUERMIN and supported by the collocated NATO Naval Mine Warfare Center of Excellence.
The main objective is to improve the capabilities of NATO forces to integrate and respond to a crisis where waterborne mines are a threat by testing MCM forces’ abilities to operate in the littorals and clear the sea ways for other maritime forces to safely conduct operations.
Royal Norwegian Navy Captain Svein Kvalvaag, the exercise director, said: “One of the most important take aways from this exercise is multinational engagement. During this exercise we encourage nations to mix and collaborate.”
This year’s training audience includes personnel from Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) and the group’s incoming commander. The annual NATO exercise, designed to test naval mine counter-measures (MCM) tactics and procedures, is facilitated by a team of MARCOM staff officers, naval mine warfare experts, and scientists from NATO and PFP nations. This year the exercise also includes extensive media training.
Similar to NATO live exercises, DME16 is supported by an in-stride reconstruction, analysis, and debriefing process. Three senior naval mine warfare officers provide daily feedback, allowing exercise participants to adjust and improve their performance the following day.
MARCOM Deputy Chief of Staff –Plans, Portuguese Navy Commodore Joao Aresta, said: “The exercise provides an excellent opportunity for NATO and our Partner Nations’ MCM experts to strengthen their ability to operate in a controlled training environment to practice sustained MCM in realistic dynamic and challenging situations.”
“This exercise series also fosters an ongoing exchange of information and lessons learned between our incoming and previous SNMCMG leadership, enhancing our ability to efficiently ensure the safety of the sea ways for maritime operations and manoeuvres. We are actively seeking options to offer this training in locations in the southern region in future in order to expand the opportunities for this valuable training to be conducted.”