Future NATO Response Force Reaches Initial Operational Capability During Black Swan 21
Future NATO Response Force Reaches Initial Operational Capability During Black Swan 21

Future NATO Response Force Reaches Initial Operational Capability During Black Swan 21

U.S. Army Green Berets and U.S. Naval Special Warfare Operators trained with NATO allies and partners as they reached initial operational capabilities for the Nato Response Force during Black Swan 21, May 3-May 14, 2021. Black Swan 21 is an annual Hungarian-led multinational special operations forces exercise, which demonstrates peer-to-peer deterrence and resiliency of alliances and partnerships in Europe. SOF from Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United States participated this year.

Future NATO Response Force Reaches Initial Operational Capability During Black Swan 21
A Hungarian Special Operations Forces operator conducts training during an infiltration and exfiltration exercise on the Danube River during Black Swan, May 6, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Therese Prats)

In Szolnok, Hungary, the Green Berets trained alongside Austrian, Croatian, Hungarian, Slovakian, and Slovenian SOF on aerial vehicle interdiction, Close Quarters Battle (CQB), Fast Rope Insertion Extraction System (FRIES), and special reconnaissance. In Budapest, Hungarian SOF trained with Naval Special Warfare operators on Special Operations Craft Riverines (SOC-R) on Europe’s second longest river, the Danube. Meanwhile, Croatia hosted maritime training with Hungary and the U.S. in the Adriatic Sea.

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Future NATO Response Force Reaches Initial Operational Capability During Black Swan 21
A Naval Special Warfare operator prepares for an infiltration and exfiltration training exercise near the Danube River during Black Swan, May 6, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Therese Prats)

“It’s important to see how NATO members can work seamlessly together, can support each other, and act well together to be a really credible deterrent to any adversaries that face us,” said Brigadier General Rob Stephenson, Acting Commander of NATO Special Operations Headquarters.

“It’s been great training together with a variety of countries,” said a U.S. Army Green Beret team leader. “Every day we’ve gotten stronger and more fluid, and we’re confident to accomplish missions either side by side or as individual units.”

Future NATO Response Force Reaches Initial Operational Capability During Black Swan 21
Special Operations Forces from Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United States participate in aerial vehicle interdiction training as part of Black Swan 21 in Szolnok, Hungary, May 12, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Therese Prats)

Black Swan 21 helped Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia qualify for the initial air, land, maritime operational capabilities required for the Regional Special Operations Component Command (R-SOCC), a Hungarian-led, temporary deployable command element for Special Forces. The command will boost the ability of each nation to effectively employ their special operations forces and will enable each nation to contribute separately, while benefiting from an integrated R-SOCC structure when activated for deployment. The R-SOCC is expected to be fully functional by December 2024 and will act as the NATO Response Force in 2025.

Future NATO Response Force Reaches Initial Operational Capability During Black Swan 21
Special Operations Forces from Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United States participate in vehicle interdiction training as part of Black Swan 21 in Szolnok, Hungary, May 12, 2021.(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Therese Prats)
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