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Dynamic Response

Dynamic Response is an annually conducted exercise, and the planning for the exercise begins approximately 12 months in advance. The NATO Reserve Force (SRF) was first activated during NATO Dynamic Mix '97 held in Kiparissia Bay, Greece. Dynamic Response '98 was held in BiH March 23 - April 27 of that year. The 1999 exercise was cancelled due to the use of force in the Kosovo Crisis. According to NATO guidelines, the SRF does not belong to KFOR. It is an over-the-horizon force releasable by SACEUR and could be deployed equally to SFOR if needed. It also shows that despite the restructuring of SFOR, COMSFOR has other assets in case of any anti-Dayton activity.

The Strategic Reserve Force, which is as an integral part of the SFOR and KFOR operational mandate, is a multi-national, highly professional force with a wide range of military capabilities - including light and airborne infantry, amphibious, air mobile, armour, artillery and air attack capability. It is designed to be a mobile, versatile force to augment in-theatre forces and to deal with any military contingency.

Dynamic Response 98

The NATO Stabilization Force's (SFOR) Strategic Reserve conducted exercise Dynamic Response 98, involving more than 1,800 U.S. military personnel, from 24 Mar 98 through 8 Apr 98. The purpose of this multinational exercise was for the SFOR Strategic Reserve forces to refine their ability to deploy to Bosnia and Herzegovina and perform a variety of missions in support of the SFOR commander. Dynamic Response 98 was a regularly scheduled training exercise, and not a response to instability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The movement of troops into the region for the exercise included an amphibious landing by U.S. forces in Croatia, a Polish airborne battalion moving by rail through Croatia and a Romanian infantry battalion moving by road through the northeast sector of Croatia.

Nations participating in Dynamic Response included four NATO member nations -- the United States, Turkey, Italy, and the Netherlands -- and two non-NATO nations -- Poland and Romania. A total of 5,000 military personnel participated in the exercise.

Participating in Dynamic Response from the U.S. European Command was the U.S. Sixth Fleet Command Ship USS La Salle (AGF-3) from Gaeta, Italy. Other units participating from the U.S. included the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.; the USS Laboon (DDG 58); USS Portland (LSD 37); USS Trenton (LPD 14); and USS Wasp (LHD 1).

Dynamic Response 2000

Almost precisely a year after the NATO bombing campaign to end atrocities in the Kosovo region, Dynamic Response 2000 unfolded in Kosovo March 19 - April 10. The NATO-led Strategic Reserve Force (SRF) command field exercise demonstrated NATO's and the international community's resolve and commitment to maintain a secure environment in the Balkans region, which includes Kosovo and Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH.) Five nations with approximately 1,5000 troops and 220 vehicles participated in the exercise, validating operational concepts outside a specific crisis situation. Three were NATO countries: The Netherlands, Poland, and the United States. One, Romania, is a Partnership for Peace nation, and the other, Argentina, who is seeking a professional and technical relationship with NATO, was also involved.

Units included the 1st Battalion of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, the 10th Polish Mechanised Infantry battalion, a platoon from the Argentinean Paratrooper Brigade, elements of the Romanian 26th Infantry Battalion, and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from the United States of America. The forces primarily operated in Multinational Brigades Central and East after the initial deployment in the Prizren area.

The four phases of the exercise included preparation, deployment, employment within theatre, and re-deployment. The participants, who represented a small fraction of the total number of troops envisioned for the SRF, demonstrated rapid deployment capabilities, interoperability, command and control co-ordination, and combat tactics, and high operational readiness during the 23-day affair.

COMSFOR, Lt. Gen. (US) Ron Adams summed up the importance of this exercise to SFOR in a Feb. 9 interview. "As long as SFOR is here, there won't be any war," said Adams. "I mean, we can guarantee that because everyone says you're getting smaller. So what? As long as there is one NATO soldier here, we have the power of all NATO right behind us. And, believe me, they could be here just like that. Their aeroplanes come in here and out of this country all the time. Fighter aeroplanes can come in - air power can come in very easily. And just twice since I've been here, we've brought troops in from outside Bosnia and Hercegovina - NATO troops to exercise and to operate. So war is not an option. Not while we're here."

Dynamic Response 2001

For 2001, ADVENTURE EXPRESS / DYNAMIC RESPONSE combined two annual exercises to practise and validate operational concepts, and familiarise units with terrain and environment. The exercise showed NATO's and the international community's strong resolve and commitment to maintain peace and stability in the overall Balkans region. The exercise itself is conducted on an annual basis and for the first time both Adventure Express and Dynamic Response, two "classic" NATO exercises, were being put together. What was new is that the strategic reserve were deployed at the same time, both in Kosovo and in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Approximately 1,500 troops from six NATO and Partner nations, and Argentina participated in an exercise involving the Strategic Reserve Force as part of the NATO-led operations in the Balkans, from April 27, to May 10, 2001. The exercise, called ADVENTURE EXPRESS / DYNAMIC RESPONSE 2001 (AE/DR 01), started with a preliminary training phase in Albania and take place in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. NATO and Partner Strategic Reserve units will arrive in both SFOR and KFOR theatres as part of each respective commander's force to support the ongoing Peace Support Operations.

Of the 6 nations contributing to this years exercise, 3 deployed forces into COMKFOR's area of responsibility, Argentina, Italy and the United States, a total of about 1400 soldiers. The aims of the exercise are to: Demonstrate NATO's resolve to maintain a secure environment and deter external aggression. Should deterrence fail, demonstrate the capability, to defend against aggression towards Kosovo, its inhabitants, any property, and KFOR. Validate operational and logistical support concepts.

Like in a "worst case scenario" book, NATO Strategic Reserve Forces came throughout the Balkans to support the peace process and as an augment to the theater forces, and to the disposal of the commanders. The augmentation itself is not that comprehensive. About 1000 troops from the US, Italy and Argentina were deployed in the thirteen day long exercise. The main goal for NATO was to test the capability of the command structure to deal with planning and operate the insertion of the strategic reserve in the area of operation.

The exercise started in Albania where the local Armed Forces trained with NATO troops and after that they re-deployed in Kosovo where they took responsibility of some sectors. The Units carried out patrolling and check points at the orders of the MNBs as part of COMKFOR's in place forces.

For the first time in this exercise cycle, Italian, Argentinean and US troops were pre-deployed to Albania to train with Albanian troops. This deepened NATO's partnership with Albanian forces and will contribute to increased inter-operability with those forces. The exercise was coordinated by ALLIED FORCES SOUTHERN EUROPE (AFSOUTH), which is NATO's Operational Headquarters responsible for the Balkan Operations, and controls both multi-national NATO Headquarters in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, SFOR and KFOR.

Units arrived by air, sea and land routes, arriving in theatre fully mission-capable and logistically self-sustaining. They were swiftly integrated into the command and control structures of the Multi-national Divisions in SFOR and the Multi-national Brigades in KFOR, as an integral part of COMKFOR's and COMSFOR's in place forces performing a variety of missions, such as manning checkpoints, or conducting routine patrols.

More than 400 U.S. servicemen conducted an airborne operation Friday April 27, 2001 to begin Adventure Express/Dynamic Response 2001. Supported by Air Force C-130s and F-16 aircraft, U.S. paratroopers jumped into a drop zone secured by U.S. Marines about one mile west of Vitina. The joint effort between U.S. armed forces demonstrated their ability to rapidly respond and deploy forces on short notice and respond to any military contingency. It also displayed the interoperability between branches of the U.S. armed services. About 160 soldiers from 1st Bn., 508th ABCT, based in Vicenza, Italy, jumped from five C-130 Hercules aircraft at 1 p.m. Air Force F-16 Falcon fighter planes flew over the drop zone prior to the airborne insertion while 200 Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit based in Camp Le Jeune, N.C., provided ground security for the paratroopers around the drop zone perimeter. After U.S. soldiers landed on the drop zone, they conducted relief in place operations with the US Marines providing security.

Dynamic Response 2002

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) arrived in Kosovo on Sept. 19 to participate in Dynamic Response 2002. For the 24th MEU (SOC), arriving in Kosovo was a perfect opportunity for the MEU's embark section to put important skills to work.

In 48 hours the embark section along with Marines from USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group Combat Cargo and the Port Operations Group moved the majority of the MEU's personnel and vehicles from Thessolaniki, Greece to Camp Able Sentry. The movement included High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, seven-ton trucks, Intermediate Fast Attack Vehicles, Joint Task Force Enabler vehicles, along with pieces of heavy equipment, and storage containers.

From there, the Marines moved to their respective areas of operation and began working with other members of the Kosovo Force's Multi-National Brigade South. From the rail yard, the MEU was able to move a total of 200 vehicles on four trains smoothly and efficiently through the night. The MEU also managed to move 1,900 troops off the ships and onto 43 buses in less than six hours.

During the troop movement vehicle operators had to move fast, driving their vehicles off the ships and positioning them at the rail yard. Then they had to go back to the ships, grab their gear and embark onto the buses for the movement.

The MEU is now set up in more than eight different locations. The MEU's command element is located at Prizren. The Aviation Combat Element is located at Camp Bondsteel, while the majority of the MEU Service Support Group is located at Camp Casablanca. The Battalion Landing Team is spread out over various locations that include Prizren Airfield, Dragas, Globo Hill, Brod, and Camp Scorpion.

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