More than 10,000 service members from the U.S. and 12 NATO countries conducted exercise Saber Strike 16 from 12th to 21st June.
Saber Strike is a cooperative training exercise, focused on the Baltic States, which has been conducted annually since 2010. It is designed to improve joint interoperability through a range of missions that prepare the 13 participating nations to support multinational contingency operations. The exercise — taking place in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — serves as an effective proving ground for units to validate their ability to assemble rapid-reaction forces and deploy them on short notice where needed.
Saber Strike 16 featured allied and partner-nation ground forces conducting live-fire, command post, and cyber/electronic warfare training, plus the integration of U.S. close-air support with multinational ground forces.
This year’s exercise included participation from U.S. Air Forces in Europe, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, USAREUR, the U.S. National Guard, and air national guard and military forces from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and the U.K.
Although not a NATO exercise, Saber Strike trains NATO allies and partners to be ready with a credible capability to assure, deter, and respond quickly and effectively as a team to threats throughout the region.
In related news, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow met with the Defence Ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on 14th June to sign a new Letter of Agreement on airspace management arrangements in support of NATO’s Air Policing mission and other air activities in the Baltic Sea region. The agreement will facilitate more air training opportunities in the Baltic region and “sends a clear message of the Alliance’s shared responsibility and resolve to protect NATO’s territory and populations.”