The Anaconda–16 Exercises Begin
On Monday, the head of Poland’s Defence Ministry spent the day at the National Defense Academy in Rembertów, where the Anaconda–16 exercises were launched. These exercises will be held between the 7th and the 17th of June this year and will be the most important and the biggest Polish Armed Forces training exercise session in 2016.
Anaconda-16 is also the largest defensive exercise, which will be carried out on Polish training grounds, among others in such locations as Drawsko Pomorskie, Ustka, Świdwin, Żagań, Chełm, Nowa Dęba, Orzysz and Wędrzyn. Some 31,000 NATO State troops will participate, including 12,000 from Poland. Eighteen NATO countries will participate along with five partner States, equipped with 3,000 military vehicles, 105 aircraft and helicopters, and 12 ships. For the first time in the history of the exercises, territorial pro-defense organizations will participate as well. The exercises will be headed by Lieutenant General Marek Tomaszycki, Operational Commander of the Types of Armed Forces.
“Soldiers! I observed your faces walking past as you stood in formation. I've seen what a powerful force the united forces of the NATO Alliance have created,” said Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz in his speech. He added that in the difficult conditions in which we find ourselves today in Poland and on the eastern flank of NATO, we view the Alliance as primarily serving a defensive function. “The aim is to check the ability of NATO to defend the territory of the eastern flank of the Alliance,” stressed Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz at the opening of the exercises.
“The US Army and the United States have one goal which they want to accomplish during the exercise. They want to show that they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Poland, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Polish nation, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Polish Army and finally shoulder-to-shoulder with the North Atlantic Alliance so that each country could be free and independent,” declared the Chief of Staff of the US Army, Lieutenant General Mark Milley, who was present at the ceremony.
He stressed that the Allies must strengthen their common defense and be capable of deterring a potential aggressor. “The Government of the United States and my superiors has decided to increase the presence of the US Army in Europe. There will be deployment increases of heavy equipment in the region, we're improving our infrastructure, and organizing a number of military exercises and training, together with our partners. The success of these efforts will be visible mainly during the Anaconda exercise,” said Lt. Gen. M. Milley.
“No one should have any doubts as to the commitment of the United States in the peace and security of Europe,” said, in turn, the Commander of the American Ground Forces in Europe, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges.
He stressed that the US Army has earmarked many soldiers to take part in the exercise, including the National Guard, and a significant amount of equipment. “In other words, the entire US ground forces are involved in the Anaconda exercise. We are already now drawing conclusions concerning logistics, interoperability, and command structure in an international environment," he added.
The head of the exercise, Operating Commander of the Types of Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Marek Tomaszycki stressed that the Anaconda exercise is the largest test for the interoperability and response of the military to contemporary threats.
During the opening ceremony, the Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, training soldiers, representatives of NATO structures and Allied military attachés of Alliance States and Partnership for Peace countries, representatives of governmental and local administrations, uniformed commanders and rectors of schools were present.
Since 2006, in a two-year cycle, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, in cooperation with non-military structures, carry out multilevel comprehensive exercises under the code name “Anaconda.” For each of these exercises, the most relevant is the combined efforts of all Types of Armed Forces (RSZ), supported by various government departments in the conduct of defense operations.
The Anaconda–16 exercise, organized by the Operational Command of the Types of Armed Forces (RSZ) in cooperation with the US Army Command in Europe (USAREUR), will be the most important training undertaking in 2016. This is an exercise aimed to develop the capacity to command combined defensive operations in cooperation with the international coalition of international and non-military systems. It will also check the effectiveness of the solutions adopted in respect to the performance of the tasks of the host country.
Anaconda–16 will be the sixth edition of the exercises, the third in an international dimension, with the participation of representatives of the armed forces of allied countries.
The soldiers will practice in the framework of two military corps, three divisions: (two Polish divisions and an American division), twelve brigades and a number of bases, regiments, fleets and other subunits.
The exercise scenario provides an excellent opportunity to incorporate component forces of the territorial defense into action, which will allow for practicing interoperability with operational troops, as well as with local authorities.
In an international dimension, the Anaconda–16 training exercise will be attended by troops from over a dozen countries of the Atlantic Alliance and several States in the framework of the Partnership for Peace Program and Allied command structures.