Klaipeda, Lithuania - General Jörg Vollmer, Commander Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCBS), attended the Lithuanian-led exercise Baltic Fortress on 16 June. Baltic Fortress has been taking place since 2008 and is a joint training exercise of the Baltic Naval Forces. The organisational responsibility rotates every year between the three Baltic States. During the exercise, the units will improve their ability to perform tasks in crisis operations, including mastering standard combat procedures at sea.
This year, Baltic Fortress has been added to the annual major maritime-focused exercise Baltic Operations 2021 (BALTOPS), which kicked off on 6 June and is scheduled to take place until 18 June. The special point: this year the BALTOPS manoeuvre celebrates its 50th birthday. Multiple maritime and air assets from 16 NATO and 2 partner nations participate in the BALTOPS live training events. The participating nations are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S.
In Klaipeda General Vollmer met with Vice Admiral Eugene Black, Commander Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and Commander US Sixth Fleet, which commands and controls BALTOPS from its headquarters in Oeiras, Portugal. Co-operation between STRIKFORNATO and NATO's Maritime Command (MARCOM) will be essential and key to the success of the exercises.
General Vollmer underlines the importance of the exercises for NATO.
Baltic Fortress and especially the 50thBALTOPS exercise highlight a huge maritime tradition. Both these naval focussed exercises demonstrate that Allied Forces are highly capable, flexible and interoperable formations that can deter, and where necessary, confront and defeat potential aggressors.