On May 15 Deputy Chief of Staff CIS and Cyber Defence at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Major General Wolfgang Renner will pay a visit to Lithuania and present NATO communications exercise Steadfast Cobalt 2018 soon to take place in Kaunas to the media. This is the third time the annual NATO exercise is held on the territory of Lithuania.
The press conference will be also attended by Vice Minister of National Defence Edvinas Kerza, Deputy Mayor of Kaunas Simonas Kairys is also expected to be present.
Intense preparations have been underway in the past several weeks at Vytautas the Great Jaeger Battalion in Kaunas for NATO Communications Exercise Steadfast Cobalt 2018. Various types of NATO communications equipment is almost fully transported to the Jaeger Battalion in Panemunė for the exercise, soldiers with communications units of various NATO allies are gathering to the exercise location.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces and City Council of Kaunas will be ensuring Host Nation Support for the exercise. The participating forces will be provided with all necessary services: access to civilian and military infrastructure, communications and information technology, lodging, catering, medical, and other.
Due to the character of the exercise and shortage of lodging within military infrastructure in Kaunas and the region, NATO soldiers will live in hotels in Kaunas and Birštonas for the exercise period and will be transported daily to the exercise site by the Lithuanian Armed Forces and Kaunas Transport capabilities. Soldiers’ accommodation expenses are paid by the sending nations.
It is not expected the arrival of NATO equipment to disrupt city life in any way, traffic is not planned to be restricted in Kaunas. Some of the participating countries will have their communication equipment arrive via Vilnius or Kaunas airports and then be transported to Panemunė. Others will unload in Klaipėda Seaport. Part of the equipment will also be brought via ordinary land roads. During the exercise military vehicles used in the exercise will not leave exercise base in Vytautas the Great Jaeger Battalion, except for the scheduled troops transportation to and from the exercise base to hotels.
Steadfast Cobalt 2018
Active phase of NATO’s defensive exercise Steadfast Cobalt will take place on May 21-June 2. It will train capabilities of communications units and for evaluating units of rapidly deployable Alliance’s communications systems that ensure operational success of the NATO Rapid Response Force and other headquarters in any part of the globe at a very short notice.
This year the exercise will involve roughly 1,500 NATO soldiers from over 40 different units from 25 NATO allies. Lithuania will be presented by soldiers with the Signal Company of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf at Steadfast Cobalt 2018.
It will evaluate the ability of NATO communications units to ensure information exchange and maintain communication among combat units of the NATO Response Force, joint and component headquarters worldwide.
The exercise is held in Lithuania for the third time. In 2014 Steadfast Cobalt took place at the Division General Stasys Raštikis Lithuanian Armed Forces School in Kaunas, last year – at Vytautas the Great Jaeger Battalion in Panemunė.
Protection of the exercise site and support tasks will be completed by soldiers from other units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
NATO Communication and Information Systems Group (NCIS)
NATO CIS Group is a structural unit of operational capabilities which ensures command and control of the NATO Response Force worldwide. It is a combination of cutting-edge information exchange systems and technology manned by top qualification experts and commanders.
NATO Response Force
NATO Response Force (NRF) is a high readiness technologically advanced multinational NATO force, one the Alliance’s cornerstone military instruments. NRF comprises military units assigned by NATO allies that are held on standby in their home countries to be ready to deploy within a set time to the area of operation in case a decision to deploy NRF was taken. And in such a case, NRF deploys within 5 days.