Polish, Czech, Hungarian and American soldiers are all involved in the Slovak Shield 2016 exercise, taking place in Slovakia. The exercise is the most important training operation which would beinvolving the Visegrad Group member states this year.
The exercise taking place between 6th and 13th October is an international training operation which, according to the data published by the Americans, sees participation of more than 2 thousand soldiers. This year, the exercise is going to step outside the area of the LEST Slovakian Army Training Centre (Banská Bystrica), and the activities are also going to be undertaken in Bratislava, among other locations.
An Element of the 17th Mechanized Brigade of the Polish Army, utilizing the Rosomak APCs, is also involved in the operation. The soldiers of the 1st Battalion of Motorized Infantry are, on the other hand, making contributions to the operational activities undertaken by a unit which is formed by a number of Polish, Czech and Slovak troops. The unit in question is commanded by Cpt. Stefan Butlak, and its composition includes the Czech BMP-1 vehicles and Slovak T-72M1 tanks. On the other hand, the US units which participate in the operation utilize the Stryker IFVs.
The most important exercise of the V4 Group member states sees the United States involvement in a role of a strategic partner. The goal of the operation is to verify the interoperability of all of the participatiing nations, also within the scope of live-fire training, and checking whether the soldiers of the allied nations are able to work within a single unit.
On the other hand, the US involvement in the Slovak Shield operation is a part of the Atlantic Resolve initiative, referring to the Eastern Europe. The goal of the aforesaid activities is to prove the US involvement in Europe to the allies, also when it comes to peacekeeping and collective defence efforts in the region. Slovak Shield involves troops who are stationed in Germany, hailing from the Indiana National Guard. The US soldiers from both of the aforesaid units already had a chance to operate together within, among other initiatives, a number of partnership programmes.