Hohenfels, Germany – NATO leaders and policy makers from Belgium, Italy, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States participated in a NATO-led Route Clearance Demonstration at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany, June 11-15. Twelve other nations attended as observers, while four NATO Centres of Excellence provided support, the NATO Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices, also known as C-IED CoE, Spain; the NATO Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or EOD CoE, Slovakia; the Joint Air Power Competence Center, also called JAPCC, Germany; and the Military Engineering, also referred to as MILENG CoE, Germany.
The five-day multi-national event, technically led by the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency, which is sponsored by NATO Headquarters’ Emerging Security Challenges Division, under the Defence against Terrorism Programme, focused attention on another phase of the mission in Afghanistan, restoring security and mobility to local civilians and personnel working in the region.
This route clearance demonstration comes at a crucial time; ISAF soldiers are beginning their withdrawal from Afghanistan," said Dr. Jamie Shea, the Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO's Emerging Security Challenges Division. "Secure roads and lines of communication are absolutely crucial for the safety of ISAF soldiers and their equipment."
Although necessary, these operations are complex and dangerous, Dr. Shea said.
"The ISAF nations demonstrating their route clearance skills and procedures at the Hohenfels Training Area play an important role in enabling the exchange of lessons-learned and best practices that can save lives, " he said.
Since the early days of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns IEDs remain a deadly tactic against coalition forces, and before that NATO forces cleared routes of mines in Bosnia and Croatia to ensure safe passage of Soldiers and supplies after conflict.
The JMRC at Hohenfels, Germany is centrally located among NATO countries. The JMRC is the only U.S maneuver center to regularly train U.S. and multi-national forces for contingencies around the world.
"About 80 to 90 percent of our work over the past few years has been preparing units for success in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Col. Bryan L. Rudacille, Commander of the Joint Multinational Training Command, which is JMRC's headquarters. "We have a clear understanding of the IED fight and provide a professional opposing force and special team to facilitate counter-IED training using the most recent tactics, techniques and procedures. Being centrally located among our NATO and multi-national allies allows us to contribute to the fight by training for the joint and coalition missions, while facilitating that exchange of ideas and lessons-learned."
The JMRC provided trainers, facilities and the heavy equipment needed to demonstrate the route clearance tactics, techniques and procedures. NATO hosted panel discussions in conjunction with the training.
"The results of the demonstration will help every ISAF nation meet the key operational standards for successful route clearance and for a safe ISAF withdrawal from Afghanistan."
For more information or to learn more about Europe’s unique multi-national training mission, please visit the JMTC web site: http://www.eur.army.mil/jmtc. See Nato’s Homepage at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/index.htm.