February 7, 2019 – The sea lanes are vital to the health and wellbeing of a nation. These strategic byways allow trade, travel and the movement of resources. NATO maintains two groups of mine countermeasures ships ready to respond to a crisis if needed. In order to maintain a high level of readiness, NATO conducts training exercises to keep sailors skills sharp.
Over the past two weeks, more than 160 naval personnel from 21 NATO and Partner nations met at the NATO Mine Countermeasures School (EGUERMIN), in Oostende, Belgium to practice large scale mine clearance operations in the computer aided exercise Dynamic Move.
Three Task Force Battle Staffs each led four Task Units in a virtual task force to clear mines in a simulated crisis situation. The Task Force Battle Staffs included Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One, the US Navy’s Mine Warfare Battle Staff from the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center and a Mine Warfare Battle Staff comprised of Scandinavian Allies and Partners.
“Dynamic Move gives us an opportunity to work together as a staff in the controlled environment of the exercise to test our limits,” said Commander of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1), Commander Peter Krough of the Royal Danish Navy. “The exercise proved to be very valuable staff training. Acting on a higher level of command authority, the staff gained insight into our commanders needs and concerns.”
The Director of the US Mine Warfare Battle Staff, Captain Christopher Nelson, concurred, “Our team was able to achieve all objectives, including; training the Staff on NATO Mine Countermeasures techniques and procedures, refining internal staff processes and procedures and integration with our Allies and Partners.”
Dynamic Move is an annual exercise held in two parts. Part one is held in Ostend Belgium in the early spring of the year and the second part is held in La Spezia, Italy in the early fall. Each part of the exercise allows mine countermeasures personnel from across the Alliance to come together to enhance interoperability and hone tactics and procedures to ensure NATO Is ready to work together should there be a need.