Brunssum, The Netherlands – In a significant display of NATO's commitment to strengthening its Eastern Flank, Major General Stefan Fix, Deputy Chief of Staff Support of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, graced the Distinguished Visitors Day at Exercise Strong Cohesion II in Lešť, Slovakia. The event marked a crucial phase in the Deployment Exercise of the Spanish Army, transferring troops from Spain to Slovakia from November 6-16, 2023, in preparation for the takeover of responsibility by the Multinational Battlegroup Slovakia (MN BG SVK) as the Framework Nation in 2024.
Exercise Strong Cohesion II not only demonstrates the commitment of Spain as the Framework Nation but also serves as a testament to the cohesion and interoperability among NATO allies.
Spain's role as the Framework Nation for the MN BG SVK was initially appointed in 2023, with the mandate to expand the Forward Land Forces (FLF) on NATO's Eastern Flank from Battlegroup to Brigade size starting in 2024. Exercise Strong Cohesion II, executed from November 6-16, aimed to showcase the FLF capability and the resolve of the Alliance to transition from Battlegroup to Brigade size on the Eastern flank.
The exercise also played a pivotal role in identifying lessons for the future deployment of Spain as the Framework Nation, with a specific focus on logistics, command structure, and developing interoperability with partners and allies. Major General Fix, being the highest NATO representative at the event, emphasized the importance of such exercises in enhancing the Alliance's operational readiness.
In attendance were distinguished figures, including the Slovak Minister of Defence, Róbert Kaliňák, and representing Spain, the Spanish Ambassador Lorea Arribalzaga Ceballos, and the Chief of Defence of the Spanish Armed Forces (‘JEMAD’), General Teodoro López Calderón. Their presence underscored the significance of the multinational effort and demonstrated the strong bilateral ties between Spain and Slovakia within the NATO framework.
Major General Fix remarked, "Exercise Strong Cohesion II not only demonstrates the commitment of Spain as the Framework Nation but also serves as a testament to the cohesion and interoperability among NATO allies. The lessons learned here will undoubtedly contribute to strengthening our collective defence capabilities."
As the exercise concluded, it marked a significant milestone in NATO's efforts to bolster its presence on the Eastern Flank. Strong Cohesion II will lay a robust foundation for the successful deployment of Spain as the Framework Nation of the MN BG SVK in 2024.