I would like to continue the discussion about how we translated the political and strategic guidance we were given into action. As Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces Central Europe, I was tasked to ensure force mounting, support, training assistance, and certification under the terms of OP Plan 10405. I will begin by focusing on the certification and training of non-NATO forces offered for participation in IFOR. The aim of this certification is to assess the military effectiveness of every declared contribution, based on the approved criteria. These mutually agreed upon criteria are:
So far the central region has conducted seven certifications with teams headed by highly experienced flag officers and consisting of five staff officers each. These teams have traveled from Egypt to Ukraine in the last weeks and months. Most of the units that were assessed were immediately certified for participation in IFOR. Some needed additional training in specific areas, such as rules of engagement, NATO procedures, and logistics. But let me say that we were very impressed by all the highly motivated, professional units.
Based on the experience we gained in this process, AFCENT staff drafted a handbook for SHAPE with assistance from Allied Forces Northwestern Europe. This handbook provides general information that can be used by non-NATO contingent commanders up to battalion level in order to help them prepare for deployment. It also lists critical functions and procedures that must be addressed by a unit commander if his contingent is to take its place alongside NATO forces during operations.
As to training, the existing central region exercise program offers numerous opportunities for IFOR training at different levels. At the operational level, AFCENT has conducted and will continue to conduct exercises that involve Partner nations. Also, we just completed at AFCENT Headquarters the Central Eclectic seminar that involved 80 flag and staff officers from 16 non-NATO nations. Central Eclectic was the first in a series of exercises, including Cooperative Guard, that involves 26 nations. A major CPX (command post exercise) will also be held in Germany in May 1997.
At the tactical level we will be conducting the multinational brigade headquarters exercise Cooperative Lantern. At the air component command level, we will hold the exercise Cooperative Chance. Both exercises will be ideal training vehicles for units as well as staff officers, and we understand that many nations will be using them for IFOR training.
There is no doubt that the willingness of Partner nations to contribute to IFOR, the enthusiasm they displayed during the certification process, and their continuing interest in participating in our training program have all led to improved mutual understanding. Their efforts have also given a welcome boost to Partnership for Peace initiative.
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