KEIL, Germany - Representatives from 10 nations met to plan the 41st Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) at the naval base in Kiel, Germany, Apr. 9-11.
BALTOPS 13, annually hosted by the United States Navy, aims to improve maritime security in the Baltic Sea through increased interoperability and cooperation among regional allies.
During the conference, hosted by the German navy, participants worked to ensure the logistical and scheduling requirements for a challenging training schedule would be met. In addition to focusing on the future event, the participants exercised their ability to plan combined operations with a multinational staff.
“The planning conferences are a critical part of achieving our overall objectives,” said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Hsu, lead exercise planner for U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet. “We bring together militaries from our various nations, with diverse backgrounds, and have them literally and figuratively speak a common language to plan a combined exercise.”
As the host for the planning conference, the German navy was responsible for the successful integration of the 80 planners who attended.
“We clearly demonstrated the ability of all participating nations to plan and develop coalition forces operations at this level,” said German navy Cmdr. Jens Herfurth, lead exercise planner for Germany. “The challenging work days fostered common understanding between the participants, thus fulfilling a major objective of BALTOPS – it was a great success.”
Currently, 12 nations are scheduled to participate with more than 40 ships, aircraft and submarines.
BALTOPS will provide an opportunity for Sailors to engage in realistic and challenging maritime training, while working side-by-side with personnel from partner nations.
“The U.S. is committed to strengthening our regional partnerships and promoting maritime safety and security in the Baltic Sea,” said Capt. William Suggs, U.S. Naval Attaché to Germany, who took part in the planning. “The work being done here in Kiel and this summer’s BALTOPS exercise are prime examples of that commitment.”
The two-week exercise is scheduled to begin in Latvia with a harbor phase and conclude in Germany to kick-off the annual Kiel Week maritime celebration.
Countries that participated in the planning conference included Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and the U.S.