Rapid Trident 2012 closes: Multinational exercise’s three-prongs strengthens stability, partnership and interoperability

July 27, 2012

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

Keeping heroes active
Capt. Joel Dickey, an observer from the Joint Multinational Readiness Center out of Hohenfels, Germany, talks with Ukrainian Army Capt. Max Suprun, a NATO Evaluator with 95th Airborne Brigade during Rapid Trident 2012 in Yavoriv, Ukraine, July 17.

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Rapid Trident, the multinational exercise designed to promote regional stability, strengthen international military partnership and improving interoperability between participating nations, closed with a ceremony, July 27.

It has been 17 years since the joint exercise Peace Shield was designated as Rapid Trident, a move made in conjunction with Ukraine joining the Partnership for Peace, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization program.  NATO says PfP’s established goal is “to increase stability, diminish threats to peace and build strengthened security relationships between individual Euro-Atlantic partners and NATO, as well as among partner countries.”

Since then, U.S. Army Europe and Ukraine have worked together to ensure the exercise meets goals for their respective land forces and ties directly into strategic and national military goals and priorities.

Rapid Trident 2012 focuses on interoperability amongst U.S. and NATO forces, while supporting the Annual National Program designed to achieve Ukrainian land forces’ interoperability with NATO.

“The basic difference between this exercise and last year’s exercise is the scope,” said Lt. Col. Brian Bowen, exercise planner with USAREUR G-3. “This year the United States is assisting Ukraine and its own program to evaluate (Ukraine’s) joint rapid reaction.”

While previous year’s exercises have varied in training, like last year’s airborne operations involving paratroopers from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and 12 other countries; the theme has remained consistent throughout the exercises history: strengthening interoperability and building relationships.

The exercise, conducted near Yavoriv at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, is designed to support multi-national training and exercises with regional partners. The IPSC hosted classroom academics, a multi-national command post and field training exercise, where participants and units engaged in one week of situational training exercises that focused on key tasks such as counter improvised explosive devices, convoy and traffic operations, patrolling operations, as well as training with support assets including helicopters and mortars.

While this year’s exercise provided a learning opportunity to U.S. Army ROTC cadets as a part of the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Program, it continued to provide a unique opportunity to a particular demographic of U.S. Soldiers, those of eastern European decent.

“It’s an amazing opportunity. It’s just incredible,” said 1st Lt. Serguei Louchnikov, with the 1st Battalion, 160th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, California Army National Guard out of Los Angeles. “It is a beautiful place, with a fantastic facility and excellent staff. You couldn’t ask for a better joint environment.”

Louchnikov’s participation in this year’s event is no coincident, as the California National Guard and Ukraine are joined in the National Guard's State Partnership Program.

“One of the goals for me is to get some experience at the staff levels, working with joint forces,” Louchnikov said, who is of Russian and Ukrainian decent. “There may be things that we can adopt and incorporate into our operations.”

Rapid Trident contributes to U.S. national security interests in Europe and provides partner nation forces combined training opportunities to enhance capabilities to conduct multinational operations.

“Together, in the spirit of friendship and partnership for peace, 16 countries worked together as one team to perform many tasks to improve interoperability, strengthen partnership and foster trust between our countries,” said Co-exercise Director Col. David Markowski from U.S. Army Europe.

Over the last three years, Rapid Trident has yielded a 1,300-participant average and is a part of U.S. European Command's Joint Training and Exercise Program.In addition to the U.S. and Ukraine, participants included: Austria, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Sweden.

“We have been planning for over a year to offer the best possible training for all who participate,” said Markowski, who served alongside Ukrainian Army Gen. Maj. Veaceslav Nazarkin as exercise co-director. “Ukraine has set the highest of standards in support of our partner nations, setting the conditions for an excellent exercise.”

Visit the U.S. Army Europe Flickr and Facebook for photos and information on Rapid Trident 2012.

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.