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Multinational Corps-Northeast

Poland is a member of the Multinational Corps-Northeast in conjunction with Germany and Denmark. In addition to hosting the Corps headquarters, Poland contributes a 17,650-strong mechanized division. There were many factors that contributed to the establishment of a new corps and its headquarters in Poland. Apart from geographical and military reasons, the corps was also to serve as a political symbol that would significantly accelerate the integration of the Armed Forces of Poland and other new partners into the multinational NATO structure, thus fostering the stability in Europe.

Germany, Poland and Denmark had been developing cooperation in many spheres throughout the 1990s. A close trilateral military cooperation between the three had existed since 1995. It gained momentum when the decision was taken in July 1997 at the NATO summit in Madrid to invite the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to become members of the organisation. Thereafter, the Ministers of Defence of Denmark, Germany and Poland decided, in Omulew, Poland, to establish a new Danish-German-Polish corps. This corps would be named MULTINATIONAL CORPS NORTHEAST (MNC NE) with its Headquarters located in Szczecin, Poland. The Headquarters "Allied Land Forces Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland" (LANDJUT) in Rendsburg, Germany, was to form the nucleus of this new command authority.

In March 1998, the Tri-National Working Group began to work on a report concerning the establishment of MNC NE, which, among other things, clarified missions and tasks of the future Corps as well as the legal basis and financial aspects.

Corps LANDJUT (along with Allied Land Forces Zealand) is a land component of Commander Allied Forces Baltic Approaches (Commander BALTAP). As of January 1, 1994, Commander BALTAP became part of the Central Region. According to ACE Directive 80-60, during exercises, crisis and war, the chain of operational command from the SACEUR flows through CINCENT for land forces. As established by MC 317, Corps LANDJUT could be used outside of the BALTAP area of responsibility as a reinforcement for Commander Allied Land Forces Central Europe (Commander LANDCENT).

Until 01 October 1993, allied command arrangements for the Baltic fell under the responsibility of Commander-in-Chief AFNORTH whose responsibilities extended from northern Norway south to the Elbe River. Under existing peacetime coordination arrangements, one of Commander Allied Forces Baltic Approaches (BALTAP)'s land components, Commander Allied Land Forces Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland ("CorpsLAND JUT") did not fall under the peacetime or wartime command of Commander LANDCENT. This resulted in a convoluted peacetime planning relationship between Corps LANDJUT (and its assigned divisions) and its land counterparts in the Central Region. This corps took on added importance when Corps LANDJUT became "Multinational Corps Northeast" and moved to Szczecin following the admittance of Poland to the Alliance in 1999.

When the Ministers of Defence of the three Framework Nations, i.e. Denmark, Germany and Poland, signed the Corps Convention in autumn 1998 thus forming a common corps, Poland was not a member of NATO yet, but the date of the countrys accession (12th March 1999) had already been set. In retrospect, the early signing of this document turned out to be a wise step taken with foresight. As early as 18 September 1999, the three Framework Nations were able to hoist their flags in Szczecin, and the Corps Headquarters moved into the renovated buildings of Baltic Barracks.

Following the Corps Convention regulations "within the limits of national constitutions and in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, pursuant to the decisions taken by the competent organs of the participating States, the Corps was tasked:

  1. to plan and operate for collective defence purposes under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty;
  2. to contribute with its Headquarters within the framework of the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or regional arrangements pursuant to Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, to multinational crisis management operations including peace support operations, e.g. as a Land Component Command in a Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) context or as a Force Command; these missions may be conducted with forces subordinated or added to the Corps for those purposes;
  3. with its Headquarters to plan, prepare and on request to conduct humanitarian and rescue missions including natural disaster relief missions."
After successful Full Operational Capability test in November 2005 and becoming a member of NATO Graduated Readiness Forces (Land) in February 2006, HQ MNC NE received the mission to be prepared to deploy on order of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), to an area of operations designated by SACEUR, for sustainment and rotation, for prolonged operations and to undertake combined, joint military operations across the operational spectrum either as a Corps Headquarters or as a Land Component Command Headquarters. With the purpose of fundamentally orient MNC NE to the future tasks, missions and challenges Commander MNC NE has specified his training & exercise policy principles. This mission driven policy requires a flexible and multiyear approach at all levels, and focuses on the mission preparation training requirements and effects based joint training. It also requires affiliated formations and capabilities to be provided by the Nations, nominated for dedicated training and exercise activities in order to allow the Corps to meet training requirements applicable for Graduated Readiness Forces (Land) Headquarters. Exercise Crystal Eagle is a NATO conducted, USAREUR supported exercise executed by the commander, Multinational Corps NorthEast. Crystal Eagle is a computer assisted/ command post exercise.

MNC NE has developed a lot since its inauguration. The Corps has become a big draw to many, in particular the new NATO-members. Since April 2004, the flags of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been fluttering in the Headquarters. In January 2005, Slovakia joined Multinational Corps Northeast. Its neighbour, the Czech Republic, sent their officers just a few months later, in October 2005. Then, the US flag was hoisted in November 2006 and the United States officially became the ninth nation of the Corps. In July 2008, Romania sent its officers to serve at Baltic Barracks. Slovenia entered the Corps' family in August 2009 and officially became the eleventh nation of the Corps. Finally, in January 2012, Croatia joined MNC NE as the twelfth member state.

In terms of military achievements, Multinational Corps Northeast passed the Full Operational Capability (FOC) test with outstanding results during the exercise Compact Eagle in November 2005. Subsequently, the Corps was officially certified by the North Atlantic Council as a NATO Deployable Headquarters and, at the same time, as a part of the NATO Deployable Structure.

In 2007, the MNC NE was contributing successfully to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, thereby proving its Full Operational Capability in a real mission environment. The personnel of MNC NE as a standing headquarters manned the key positions at the composite Headquarters International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) X/1.

In December 2007, the thirtieth meeting of the Corps Committee accepted the new Corps structure that meets the Headquarters needs more adequately. Furthermore, the infrastructure project related to building a new facility gained approval. Finally, a contract was signed for the Command, Control and Information System (C2IS) Szafran which gave the Corps a tool for being interoperable with other headquarters or, in other words, for being able to "talk and exchange information" with other headquarters. Both the implementation of the new C2IS system and the construction of a new building were launched in 2008.

The highlights of 2009 included the Little Eagle exercise and the 10th Anniversary of the Multinational Corps Northeast celebrated in September 2009. However, the greatest focus was placed on the mission preparation process, lasting several months. Along with the final Mission Rehearsal Exercise, which took place at the Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway, in December 2009, the Corps staff accomplished the preparations for their second mission in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Consequently, the year 2010 was marked by mission challenges. From February to August 2010, around 130 Corps' personnel served in Afghanistan. The remaining personnel formed so-called Garrison Headquarters and the current business in Baltic Barracks. Their efforts, especially in terms of assisting families of the deployed personnel, were supported by the Family Care Centre. As soon as the Corps' mission in Afghanistan was accomplished in August 2010, the main task of the Corps has been to profit as much as possible from the mission experiences and to share them with other headquarters and commands. A very good example how Multinational Corps Northeast handed over its expertise and know-how to units assigned by the Corps' Framework Nations and Participating States was Crystal Eagle 12 exercise held in Nymindegab, Denmark, in May 2012.

In 2012, for the first time in history MNC NE participated in the Anakonda 12 exercise, the biggest training event of the Polish Armed Forces in 2012 organised by the Operational Command of Polish Armed Forces. As a multinational task force, MNC NE staff trained in the Article 5 frame, i.e. collective defence. However, the process of sharing experiences with other units has not been finished yet. The preparations for the Crystal Eagle 13 exercise have been already initiated. Beyond Crystal Eagle 13 - the main training effort for 2013, MNC NE will also be involved in many other training events throughout the upcoming moths.




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