I had the opportunity to interview the US General Benjamin CORELL, deputy commander of the Multinational Division South-East, based in Romania. This allied command unit was involved in many important NATO training exercises. One of them took place this summer in Cincu training area, in the middle of Romania. Through this exercise, called Noble Jump, NATO tested the speed of the VJTF, Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. It’s an elite force designed to be sent first in case of an emergency or even in case of war. I asked the general about the necessity of a military Schengen space, with less regulation for border crossing of military troops and equipment’s. The latest exercise showed that border crossing it’s still an issue inside European Union
Discussions about a military Schengen-like organization
That type of exercises, as was Noble Jump or Saber Guardian, showed that are too many different laws inside the European Union that could slow an intervention in case on emergency. General CORELL told me that even the commander of the US Army Europe, general Ben Hodges, was sent in Romania to passport control as he headed from Bulgaria to an exercise in Cincu training area. General Hodges it’s an advocate for changing European legislation so that troops can move more easily, but respecting national sovereignty. Let’s hear more about what General Benjamin CORELL had to say about this matter:
How effective is the NATO Multinational Division South East
NATO has decided to set up these headquarters at the Wales Summit in 2014 as a response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Their role is to help move troops faster when they are sent to act in case of war. This Division HQ coordinates two units of force integration. They deal with all logistical problems. General Corell told me that together with the team in Romania he managed to get very good results. Noble Jump Exercise is just one example. The US General believes it was a success and the South East Multinational Division has achieved its goals.
General Corell completes his mission in Romania
General Corell began his mission in Romania last summer. This was his first experience in NATO. Until then, the US general was in command of the 1-133rd Infantry Battalion as they conducted sixteen months of combat operations in Al Anbar Province Iraq and also commanded the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard, during which time he deployed to Afghanistan. General Corell coordinated military missions in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
He immediately accepted to come to Romania, but admitted that he left the US with some preconceived opinions. He quickly changed his mind. Said that Romania is very much like the American state where he was born, Iowa. He was also impressed by the Romanian agriculture and landscapes. After returning to the United States, General Benjamin Corell will take a command position in the National Guard.
*Note: Photos (C) Multinational Division South – East