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NEWS | Oct. 11, 2019

361st Civil Affairs Soldiers support close NATO partnership, continued relationship

By Sgt. 1st Class Joy Dulen 7th Mission Support Command

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, 7th Mission Support Command, have shared a close partnership with the German Civil-Military Cooperation Command for more than five years.

After traveling six hours north, 361st Soldiers along with 7th MSC commander, Brig. Gen. Michael T. Harvey, demonstrated support for their NATO allies by attending the Multinational CIMIC Command re-flagging ceremony, here, on Sept. 30.

The re-flagging officially recognized the CIMIC command reorganizing their name and mission from German to Multinational, making it an official training center at the NATO and European Union-level under German leadership.

“The 361st Civil Affairs Brigade and 457th Civil Affairs Battalion have had a close working relationship with our NATO CIMIC allies in individual countries and with both the NATO CIMIC Center of Excellence (CCOE) and Multinational CIMIC Command,” said Col. Bradley Heston, 361st commander and ceremony attendee. “Our presence signifies the brigade's and the 7th MSC's commitment to maintain close relationships with our NATO CIMIC allies in both training and operational employment opportunities.”

The 361st also showed support by providing a small color guard comprised of noncommissioned officers from both the brigade headquarters and battalion, who stood in line and represented the U.S. during the ceremony.

As part of their mission, CIMIC forces build bridges to society, creating a foundation for social reconstruction and peaceful coexistence, said German parliamentary state secretary to the federal minister of defense, Peter Tauber.

“Here in Nienburg the expertise is bundled, interoperability for joint operations maximized,” said Tauber. “They can do a lot, but as a multinational command, they have even more potential.”

German Force Base Inspector General, Lt. Gen. Martin Schelleis, said the reorganization was a milestone in CIMIC development.

"Demand for CIMIC services has grown steadily over the past few years," said Schelleis. "In addition to international crisis management operations, a broad field has been added due to the focus on national and alliance defense."

By 2024, the full operational capability of the Multinational CIMIC Command will be established and Heston is confident that his troops will continue to support.

“The 361st CA Brigade and the Multinational CIMIC Command plan to sign a Joint Memorandum of Agreement in the coming months (as a) pledge to continue close relations and support relevant training opportunities,” said Heston.

“Even more significant is the 361st's support to NATO CCOE by providing both instructors and students to CCOE courses and our close relations with our NATO CIMIC allies while supporting Strong Europe activities and exercises,” he added.

Most importantly, the presence and participation of both the 361st and 7th MSC sends a message to Col. Andreas Timm, commander of the Multinational CIMIC Command, as they embark upon their new mission, explained Heston.

“That the relationship between the 361st and his command is meaningful, and will continue to be strong in the future,” he said.