BUCHAREST, Romania – A July 1, 2016 ceremony marked a pair of milestones as Multinational Division Southeast reached its Initial Capabilities and NATO Force Integration Unit Romania achieved Full Capability.
Admiral Michelle Howard, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, spoke to the MND-SE and NFIU Romania staff and the attending distinguished guests about the importance of the Bucharest-based units and what they've accomplished.
"What a historic day for all of us! The staffs at Multinational Division Southeast and the NATO Force Integration Unit Romania have put in some extremely hard work and long hours since the activation ceremony on December 1st to get to this point," said Adm. Howard.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis also spoke at the ceremony and praised the progress of MND-SE and NFIU Romania.
"Today's ceremony has a special meaning to the strengthening of our deterrence and defense posture as well as for our forward position on the Eastern Flank," said President Iohannis.
The NFIU Romania and MND-SE will fulfill the requirements for a more agile and responsive NATO as set forth during the Wales Summit in 2014.
MND-SE headquarters trained to meet critical NATO readiness requirements and capabilities during an exercise earlier this year. The exercise, dubbed "Dacian Lynx 2016", involved personnel from 11 NATO nations who worked from three locations. The locations included MND-SE and NFIU Romania as well as NFIU Bulgaria in Sophia.
Adm. Howard stressed that now the important operational work begins, and she challenged the MND-SE staff with current responsibilities and future capabilities that the group will achieve.
"This Alliance relies on allies like Romania," said Adm. Howard. "The combined efforts of our Allies in providing host nation support for commands like MND-SE and NFIU Romania ensures we fulfill our essential purpose of safeguarding the freedom and security of our members."
Story and photos by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Patton