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Multinational Forces Gather, Begin Baltic Operations 2011

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110608-05

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Albert Jones, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

KIEL, Germany (NNS) -- Maritime forces from 13 countries began participating in Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2011, a multinational naval exercise in the Baltic Sea June 3.

Now in its 39th year, Baltic Operations is an annual exercise aimed at enhancing cooperation among regional allies and building interoperability in a real-world environment. This year's exercise will come to a close June 25.

"Baltic Operations has a common goal – the improved maritime security of the Baltic Sea and increased interoperability of our regional allies," said Vice Admiral Harry B. Harris, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. "The exercise has a comprehensive, robust, and challenging agenda that will provide numerous opportunities for us to operate together and develop friendships and relationships."

During the exercise, Sailors from all participating countries become familiar with each country's military operating procedures and practices, resulting in improved ability to counter threats to maritime safety and security and conduct joint peacekeeping and humanitarian responses.

Nations participating include Belgium, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

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