Army Reserve Civil Affairs soldiers support Saber Guardian 17

By Capt. Jeku Arce | 221st Public Affairs Detachment | July 5, 2017

NOVO SELO, Bulgaria — U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from 361st Civil Affairs Brigade are supporting Saber Guardian 17 and other Black Sea Region exercises as part of annual training in July across Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.

361st CA BDE is responsible for conducting civil engagements and activities to promote transparency and the relationship between U.S. forces, civilian authorities and civilian populations during SG17.

"[SG17] has the largest participation of civil affairs units in an Army exercise in years," said Col. Bradley A. Heston, 361st CA BDE Commander. “Civil affairs units will be working together from brigade headquarters to civil affairs team level conducting real world operations and civil engagements. Units will also be evaluated to increase the brigade's readiness for future operations. [SG17] is true test of our capabilities."

361st CA BDE’s key tasks during SG17 are to integrate with multi-national Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence allies and partners to demonstrate cooperation and provide civil engagement support to 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 30th Medical Brigade, and 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

Civil affairs units mitigate the impact of military operations on citizens and infrastructure by using regional and trans-regional expertise, political-military awareness and cross-cultural communication skills.

“Our soldiers are trained professionals and highly proficient in their field,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael M. McGregor, 361st CA BDE Command Sgt. Maj. “It takes a lot of knowledge, expertise, cultural understanding, and outstanding communication skills to be effective when working with civil leaders, allied forces, and agencies of other countries.”

Other U.S. Army civil affairs units conducting operations assigned to 361st CA BDE during SG17 include 457th Civil Affairs Battalion from Grafenwoehr, Germany; 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion from Newport, RI; and 404th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) from Fort Dix, NJ. U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command is providing 22 observer-coach/trainers to provide evaluation of civil affairs operations.
Exercise Saber Guardian 17, a U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational exercise, will take place in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania July 11 to 20, 2017.

SG17 is larger in both scale and scope over previous iterations. Approximately 25,000 service members from 22 allied and partner nations will take part, and the exercise highlights participant deterrence capabilities, specifically the ability to mass forces at any given time anywhere in Europe.

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