U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and component command leaders, strategists, planners and operators conducted exercise Austere Challenge 2023 (AC23) May 5 – 12, to practice coordinating a response to a fictional major crisis.
"In the face of Russia's unjust and unprovoked war in Ukraine, NATO is more united than ever before," said Gen. Chris Cavoli, Commander, U.S. European Command. "That unity is underpinned by our collective readiness across all domains to serve as the frontline of freedom for our nations and this Alliance. Exercise Austere Challenge 23 advances the USEUCOM staff capability in working with Allies and Partners to respond to crises in support of regional stability and security."
The exercise brought together military and civilian personnel from USEUCOM forces and its components to contribute virtually from across Europe in the week long, command post exercise. U.S. Army Europe-Africa, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, U.S. Air Forces in Europe- Africa participated alongside an additional 11 NATO nations
AC23 is part of an exercise series planned and executed since the 1990s. This iteration focused upon training combatant command coordination, command and control and the integration of capabilities and functions across USEUCOM’s headquarters, its component commands and U.S. interagency. During the Crisis Planning (CP) segment (24-28 Apr 23), the USEUCOM staff increased cohesion and integration amongst the U.S., NATO, Allies, and partners in planning across multiple domains. During the Execution (5-12 May 23), the USEUCOM staff coordinated U.S. operations in support of NATO’s defense.
The intent of Austere Challenge 2023 was to prepare ready forces, validate strategic access, exercise deterrence principles, and integrate and synchronize with the NATO alliance. Through these efforts, the exercise contributed to strengthening partnerships globally. Conducting exercises such as Austere Challenge on a regular basis enables EUCOM to respond more effectively to regional crises and hone the skills required to work alongside other U.S. government agencies and our indispensable Allies. For more information about U.S. European Command exercises and events, visit https://www.eucom.mil.
U.S. European Command is responsible for U.S. military operations across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 64,000 permanently assigned military and civilian personnel and works closely with NATO Allies and partners. The command is one of two U.S. forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.