Innsworth's Headquarters, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) completed a major training exercise at RAF St. Mawgan, Cornwall, in the United Kingdom earlier today.
Exercise ARRCADE FUSION 13 brought the ARRC and several of its subordinate units from across Europe and North America to southwest England to participate in a training event designed to test the ARRC's readiness – all in an effort to ensure that the NATO rapid deployment headquarters continues to remain ready for any potential short-notice call-up it may receive as part of this year's NATO Response Force, or NRF.
Ultimately, this exercise represented several ‘firsts' for the headquarters.
To begin with, this was the first time that the ARRC has conducted a training exercise on this scale since the unit moved from its former location in Germany to the UK in 2010.
Totaling some 2,500 military and civilian personnel, FUSION was one of the largest exercises of its kind to occur in recent years in the southwest of England, indeed, the United Kingdom as a whole.
Participating in this exercise were units and troops from the UK (3rd Division and 16 Air Assault Brigade) as well as several of the ARRC's Partner Nations (Denmark, Canada, Italy, and the United States).
Additionally, military personnel from non-NATO nations Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and New Zealand travelled to Cornwall to participate in the comprehensive training event.
"Over the last decade of combined operations in Afghanistan, NATO has developed effective, valuable partnerships with a host of non-NATO nations,” explained ARRC spokesman Lt Col Gareth Powell. "As a NATO High Readiness Force we feel it's extremely important to continue to build and nurture those relationships, both now and in the future.”
Finally, FUSION offered the ARRC an opportunity to train for the ARRC's next challenge, that of becoming an Integrated Land Command, or ILC.
A new operational concept conceived by NATO, the ILC builds a land-centric headquarters, like the ARRC, into an element capable of commanding an entire military theatre of operations. For ARRC, this means adding both air and maritime personnel to its structure so that it can command the air, land, sea and special operations battle.
To this end, military personnel from the UK's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy played a key role with the ARRC and its many subordinate units for this exercise, adding a broader-spectrum realism to the training designed to not only test the ARRC's current state of readiness, but challenge the headquarters' personnel and their knowledge of air, maritime, and special operations.
The development of this knowledge will become a critical component of the ARRC's training over the next year as the organisation strives to become Fully Operational Capable or FOC by this time next year (November 2014).
NATO has scheduled the ARRC to be the first NATO rapid deployment corps held by the Alliance on short-notice, rapid recall (similar to the NRF) for rapid response to any/all missions that may develop during the year (2015) that require an ILC headquarters.
According to Lt Col Powell, the ARRC is up to that challenge.
"NATO has always charged the ARRC, as well as the alliance's six other rapid deployment corps, to ensure that we are consistently flexible, agile, and able to deploy anywhere in the world with great expediency,” said Powell.
"As NATO's first rapid deployment corps, ARRC will continue to champion both its readiness as well as its willingness to pioneer new concepts and challenge the norm.”
Additional notes for the Editor:
HQ ARRC is currently on stand-by for short-notice call-up and subsequent rapid deployment (5 days notice to move) in support of any potential NATO Response Force (NRF) mission that may develop during 2013.
The NRF is comprised of three parts: a command and control element from the NATO Command Structure; the Immediate Response Force, a joint force of about 13,000 high-readiness troops provided by Allies; and a Response Forces Pool, which can supplement the Immediate Response Force when necessary. The NRF traditionally comprises land, air and sea components provided by NATO members.
As an NRF Land Component Command, or LCC, the ARRC will essentially be in command of all land combat troops on the ground during an NRF deployment.
HQ ARRC is a NATO Rapid Deployment Corps headquarters, founded in 1992 in Germany, and headquartered in Gloucestershire since August 2010.
Although HQ ARRC's ‘framework nation' is the United Kingdom, comprising approximately 60% of the overall staff, the ARRC is fully multinational in nature and organization, with 15 Partner Nations contributing the remaining complement of personnel (Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the United States).
For more information on the ARRC: http://www.arrc.nato.int/
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone: 07788 616008
For more photographs of this and other stories about the ARRC, please visit HQ ARRC on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/54973278@N03/