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NATO Battle Group Poland conducts transfer of authority ceremony

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Story by CPT Gary Loten-Beckford on 04/20/2018
BEMOWO PISKIE TRAINING AREA, PolandNATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland after a year as an established and legitimate battle group in the Baltic Region conducts a transfer of authority ceremony for the third rotational unit.

Battle Group Poland, commanded by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Scott Cheney also serves as commander of 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment- Wolfpack, Vilseck, Germany transfers authority to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Adam Lackey, commander of 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment- War Eagles here April 20.

Cheney, led elements of the multinational unit for the past six months. The U.S.-led battle group, comprise of U.S., U.K., Romanian and Croatian soldiers, serve with the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade as a deterrence and defense force in northeast Poland in support of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence.

For the past six months, the multinational unit trained together in numerous operational and training exercises. The Croatian Volcano Battery conducted their first fires coordination exercise outside its country's border. The Romanian Army Air Ground and Defense Battery "Black Bats" enhanced their capabilities through practice of targeting and launching munitions from their 35-mm cannons. The U.K. Light Dragoons, Balaklava Troop soldiers engaged in winter training, patrolling tactics and sniper training in support of the battle group. The U.S. Soldiers of 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment- Wolfpack conducted squad and troop live fire exercises and validated their squadron capabilities in a squadron live fire exercise.

The lead up to the NATO eFP Battle Group Poland tested and prepared Soldiers, leaders and equipment of 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment- Wolfpack.

"The year prior to our deployment we deployed and trained with our NATO allies, specifically troops were sent to Romania and Croatia," said Cheney. "Subsequently, Romania and Croatia deployed elements here to the battle group that further enhanced cultural understanding and training."

Key preparation before the squadron's deployment occurred in May 2017. This preparation came in the name of Saber Junction '17, a U.S. Army Europe-directed exercise designed to assess the readiness of the U.S. Army's Stryker-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment to conduct unified land operations with a particular emphasis on rehearsing the transition from garrison to combat operations, and exercising operational and tactical decision-making skills.

"Prior to the deployment we had a British and Polish element attached to our squadron at Saber Junction 17," said Cheney. "We were able to work with our multinational partners and developed tactics, techniques and procedures to overcome challenges."

Battle Group Poland over the span of six months practiced, rehearsed and executed means of enhancing both digital and analog Common Operating Pictures (COPs) for mutual understanding.Through extensive staff preparation and use of the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) potential hazards and gaps were replaced with measures that secured mission success.

In January 2018, Bull Run III was the first major alert exercise and test of the battle group. Communicating as a battle group within a multinational unit was the overall objective. Speed, freedom of movement, defense capabilities and offensive operations were important functions of a multinational unit like that of the Battle Group Poland.

Entering and operating in a multinational unit is challenging, the acme of success is to defeat said challenges. The art of leadership, efficient staff and clear orders creates a clear operating picture.

"To overcome and adjust around our challenges we implemented liaison officers and applied people to overcome technical obstacles," said Cheney. "Each allied country, with its national caveats, came together under the NATO umbrella to operate as one cohesive unit."

The next six months training of the Battle Group Poland will cover combined arms live fire exercises, tests and enhancement in interoperability and defining a mutual understanding through enhanced joint capabilities training. These small-scaled training exercises lead up to Saber Strike 18. Saber Strike is a long-withstanding U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise that helps facilitate cooperation amongst the U.S., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland with allied and partner nations.


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