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Strategic Hub of Landpower Builds in the Black Sea Region

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Real Clear Defense

Strategic Hub of Landpower Builds in the Black Sea Region

By Matthew Van Wagenen & Arnel P. David

The NATO alliance grows stronger. It is by no means perfect, but after 72 years, it perseveres as an international instrument to preserve peace and deter aggression. Our new administration recognizes this strategic benefit, and it is no surprise that the first callby the new secretary of defense is to the head of NATO.

An area of focus for the alliance is the Black Sea Region. The U.S. Navy recently sailed two ships into the Black Sea to conduct drills and improve interoperability with partners, and on the ground, a new corps is being built in Romania to serve as a hub of land activity in the region. The beauty of belonging to an alliance means that Romania will not have to do this alone. They have many friends who can help.

The NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) is one of those friends, and together, both corps are working to accelerate the growth of this Multinational Corps Southeast for the region and the alliance. In direct support, U.S. Army Europe and Africa are providing a wide range of exercises in 2021 and beyond to help this new corps build operating capacity.

To help this Romanian corps establish a firm foundation, we had the honor of leading one of their first academic seminars. This event served as a platform for in-depth intellectual conversations as everyone invested time to think about how to build their new corps and where it fits into the broader alliance network. The team worked safely around a continued pandemic and various national restrictions to bring together top scholars and military leaders, which drove interactive discussions about strategy, planning, warfighting, and operational culture. The level of introspection was enlightening. The approach was partner-centric, with everyone challenged to open up their minds and exercise imaginations.

A Romanian general present for the sessions highlighted the significance of this approach by saying, "it is a new way to collaborate and think amidst a military culture that is normally very hierarchical." The group was taught Dr. Celestino Perez's methodology for design thinking, and in turn, developed a framework to describe how the Romanian corps intends to operate and fight. An introduction to NATO planning from the ARRC provided necessary linkages for NATO procedural interoperability, and examples of assessments, red teaming, and wargaming were shared. Overall, there are three big ideas to take away from this event that illustrate the exceptional thinking from such a diverse group.

Full story https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2021/02/05/strategic_hub_of_landpower_builds_in_the_black_sea_region_659209.html