PANZER KASERNE, Germany --
Recently, representatives from the European countries participating in Marine Corps Forces, Europe’s largest, multi-national exercise, Black Sea Rotational Force converged at MFE headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany to finalize the planning and training schedule for the 2013 iteration.
Similar to past exercises, BSRF will be based out of Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania and work with 18 partner nations to accomplish an impressive number of events predominately aimed at strengthening interoperability and enhancing the relationships with partners in the Black Sea region.
“Black Sea Rotational Force has been the primary engagement tool that the Marine Corps has for countries in Europe,” said Col. Jon K. Lowrey, operations officer/chief plans officer for MFE. “My goal and agenda is to increase participation in BSRF from other countries throughout Europe.”
The difference between BSRF-12 and 13 is the main body has always been comprised of reservists and this year Marines from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment will take over as the first active duty unit to lead the mission.
“The largest improvement for BSRF-13 is having a standing unit that has worked together as a unit and has established standard operating procedures and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures,” explained Maj. Troy M. Tofflemeyer, MFE air planner for BSRF-13.
Starting in March and reaching forward into August of 2013, Marines assigned to 2/2, will participate in a host of exercises and interface with more than 21 countries. BSRF-13 is an important series of exercises aimed at strengthening partnerships and enhancing security in the region by conducting drills and exercises that build upon mutual respect and a desire for multi-national, tactical proficiency.
The bulk of the training for this exercise will be focused in Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria with participating militaries from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey, The Non-NATO countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia , Herzegovina, Israel, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine.
Once the training evolutions get rolling the focus areas are to establish a theater security presence in order to provide support to crisis and contingency response while simultaneously conducting military-to-military training, peace keeping operation training and a host of other joint-force platform training.
“It’s going to be our third time participating in the BSRF exercises,” explained Major Ramil Shukurov, deputy battalion commander, Operational Capabilities Concept Battalion. “We used previous BSRF exercises in our NATO evaluation and we have a battalion available to the NATO forces and it is important that our battalion is compatible and interoperable with the NATO forces and the BSRF exercises have a tremendous effect on improving our interoperability.”
Specifically the military-to-military training evolutions will include: live fire and non-lethal weapons practical application drills as well as situational training exercises on convoy operations, entry control and distribution points, cordon and search, and improvised explosive device awareness.
Since 2010, dozens of countries have come together under a banner of shared responsibility for the security of the Caucuses, the Balkans and the Black Sea region and participated in the BSRF series of exercises.