New NATO division becomes partly functional in Romania

Bucharest: The NATO Multinational Division Southeast (MND-SE) became partly functional here on Wednesday, announced the headquarters of the division.

“I am honoured to be here to mark the significant progress made toward strengthening the NATO alliance,” said Mark Ferguson, US Navy admiral and visiting Allied Joint Force Command Naples commander.

The first exercise has been underway since last week to test the ability of MND-SE to command and control the NATO Force Integration Units in Romania and Bulgaria during a contingency operation within the southeastern region, Xinhua reported.

The exercise, titled “Dacian Lynx 2016,” is a command post and computer-assisted exercise involving more than 250 personnel from 11 NATO nations who are training in three locations in Bucharest, as well as in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“From what I have witnessed today, and from the reports I received from my staff as they observed exercise ‘Dacian Lynx,’ the MND-SE is not only on track but exceeding our very stringent requirements,” Ferguson told the press.

“The exercise has been a great training opportunity and a good start for initially reviewing all the standard operating procedures and instructions, and subsequently preparing the new division to lead exercises and operations in southeast Europe,” said the MND-SE commander, Romanian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ovidiu Uifaleanu.

“We have the command and control on the two force integration units in Sofia and Bucharest. We are trying to prove to ourselves whether we are capable of coordinating the two units to ensure a quick movement and intervention of Allied forces in southeastern Europe,” he added.

NATO first opened the MND-SE in August 2015. The headquarters should become fully operational by 2018 with some 280 officers, including 75 from other NATO states, working together.

The plan, built on decisions taken at NATO’s 2014 summit in Wales, also includes six NATO force integration units to be set up in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and the three Baltic states which will plan exercises and organise reinforcements for those countries in an emergency.