On 22-26 May, approximately 600 American soldiers with 190 pieces of military equipment gradually passed through the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Soldiers were transiting from Germany to Hungary for exercise Saber Guardian 2021 conducted as part of the U.S.-led multinational exercise Defender Europe 2021. NATO Force Integration Unit Slovakia (NFIU SVK) was involved in the incoming forces‘ Reception, Staging and Onward Movement.
Logistical support to American troops from the 2d Cavalry Regiment was provided by the Slovak Armed Forces. The passage of convoys was coordinated in cooperation with the Police of the Slovak Republic, the Military Police, the Directorate of Roads and Motorways and NFIU SVK so that the convoys did not hinder normal road traffic in any way. Consequently, they were moving mostly from late evenings to early mornings, and conformed to all Slovak regulations en route. Both the military and state police escorted all portions of convoys.
The involvement of NATO SVK in said Reception, Staging and Onward Movement was praised by the U.S. counterparts. On 25 May, the Deputy Chief of Mission from the U.S. Embassy in Slovakia – Ms. Natasha S. Franceschi – accompanied by the Defence Attaché of the United States visited the transiting troops at the staging area in the Kuchyna Air Base. After an office call by the Base´’s Deputy Commander, the U.S. Embassy delegation was escorted to the staging area by the NFIU SVK Mobile Liaison Team members. The Deputy Chief of Mission appreciated support provided by both the Host Nation and NFIU SVK.
The crossings of U.S. troops through the Slovak Republic en route to the Defender Europe-related training events have been held regularly since 2015. It is intended to demonstrate the readiness, coherence and commitment of the NATO member states to ensure the security of the region. Exercise Saber Guardian 2021 aims to test the cooperation between Allies, Partners and the United States military. The exercise is attended by almost 13,500 soldiers from 16 different countries. The Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic participate as a transiting country providing their Allies with logistical support.
As successfully demonstrated during the tactical march, the principal task of NFIU SVK is facilitating the rapid deployment of NATO forces to Slovakia, supporting collective defence planning and assisting in training and exercise coordination. At the same time, the NFIU acts as the main link between the Host Nation and its Defence Forces with all Allied forces, whether as part of NATO or other defence arrangements.