Romanian Chief of Defense, General Nicolae Ciucă, center left, and U.S. Navy Admiral James Foggo, center right, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, speak during a press conference following the full operational capability ceremony for Multinational Division Southeast in Cincu, Romania. MNDSE is the newest NATO regional headquarters and is based in Bucharest. (Photo by U.S. Navy Lt. William Eucker)
In the snowy hills of Cincu in central Romania on Thursday, I had the pleasure of joining Defense Minister Mihai-Viorel Fifor and Chief of Defense General Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă to celebrate the accomplishments of Multinational Division Southeast —the newest NATO regional headquarters based in Bucharest.
Over the previous two weeks, Brigadier General Daniel Petrescu led his team of teams at MNDSE exercising command and control over 900 NATO troops during Exercise Dacian Lancer. MNDSE expertly demonstrated its capability to command and lead tactical units to prosecute full-spectrum joint warfare operations. Now certified at "Full Capability,” MNDSE is ready to do its part deter and, if necessary, to defend the people and territory of the Alliance 24/7 and around the compass 360 degrees. Mission Accomplished!
With resilience and persistence, MNDSE has transformed from initial activation in December 2015 to the fully-operational regional multinational divisional headquarters that we see today, delivering tailored forward presence in the strategic Black Sea region. The steadfast support of the Romanian Government and Romanian people has also been nothing short of superb. Romania invests at least 2% of GDP in defense, signaling the importance of NATO to Romania, and Romania to NATO.
At dinner with my good friend and Chief of Defense, General Nicolae Ciucă, I was reminded of one of my favorite authors, Robert Kaplan. He has written about his love for Romania, the toughness, the beauty, and the wonder of this country and its resilient people. And I share every one of those sentiments.
Following a great "hot wash-up” lunch at Făgăraș Fortress (built in 1310 and never captured), General Ciucă walked me through the ethnographic museum on site. In addition to the Roman, Dacian, and Medieval artifacts, the painted glass iconography was particularly impressive. Culture and arts are a part of the tremendous heritage of the Alliance—something we all are inspired to uphold and defend.
With MNDSE, Romania will continue to be a leader in Black Sea security and greatly enhance NATO's capability to operate without constraint. The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territory and our populations against attack, as set out in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty of 1949. Together, our Alliance continues to reinforce our collective defense, enhance our capabilities, and strengthen our resilience.
Blog by Admiral James Foggo