NEWQUAY, United Kingdom – Multinational troops from NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) have spent two weeks in Cornwall training for a ‘demanding’ new commitment – as NATO’s first warfighting corps since the Cold War.
Over 1,100 troops from 22 different nations spent two weeks at RAF St Mawgan on Cornwall’s rugged northern coastline to prepare for the future role.
Exercise ‘Arrcade Fusion 19’ saw staff officers from the UK-led corps deploy for the large-scale command post exercise (CPX), as they rehearsed the procedures to command up to 120,000 military personnel in a warfighting scenario.
Addressing the assembled troops at the end of the exercise, the Corps’s commander, Lieutenant General Sir Edward Smyth-Osbourne, said: "We are required to be at readiness on 1st January as the ‘warfighting corps’ headquarters, at 20 days’ notice to move for operations in the European theatre, both to deter our adversaries and to defend our allies.”
"This is a singular and demanding purpose. And if push comes to shove, we need to be ready to deploy.”
The training was supported by experts from across NATO, with specialists flying in from all corners of the Alliance including the US Army’s 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, the 1st Canadian Division from Kingston, Ontario, the Portuguese ‘Brigada de Reacção Rápida’ (Rapid Reaction Brigade), as well as the British Army’s 3rd (UK) Division from Salisbury Plain.
Supporting staff also travelled from the ARRC’s sister corps headquarters, including the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC-ITA) based in Milan, and the Multinational Corps Northeast from Szczecin, Poland.
Captain Andre Novais from the Portuguese brigade said: "It’s been a useful experience. We are a rapid reaction brigade, and as the name suggests we can quickly deploy forces in response of the ARRC.
"For us the challenge here is working in an international environment that is very close to reality, and we can practice our procedures alongside different nations.”
During a two-day visit to the exercise in Cornwall, the Commander of NATO’s Allied Land Command, Lieutenant General JT Thomson, said: "This is a tremendous example of building readiness and practicing collective defence as an alliance.
"I’ve been very impressed with the teamwork from across NATO, and I’m impressed with the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.
"You’re setting the standard all across NATO.”
Story by ARRC Public Affairs