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NEWS | July 1, 2019

U.S. civil affairs, NATO CIMIC units collaborate during U.S. Army Europe summer exercises

By Capt. Doug Magill 221st Public Affairs Detachment

Civil Affairs units from the U.S. Army Reserve’s one-star command in Europe met with Hungarian counterparts, June 14, at the Hungarian Army’s non-commissioned officer academy in Szentendre, to share lessons learned from facilitating a pair of Hungarian national exercises.

Leadership of the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, 7th Mission Support Command, Kaiserslautern, Germany. met with leadership from Hungarian Defense Forces Civil-Military Co-Operation to share findings while conducting civil engagements for the bilateral Hungarian national exercises Szentes Axe and Breakthrough.

For Szentes Axe, the civil affairs and civil engagement teams conducted a series of engagements with community leaders such as town mayors, chiefs of police, and school visits to communicate about issues such as road closures, and increased noise and increased military presence in the area throughout the course of the exercise. 

"Working shoulder-to-shoulder with our host nation CIMIC allies makes our entire NATO CIMIC community more effective,” said Col. Bradley A. Heston, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade commander. “The strong relationships that the Hungarian Defense Forces has built and maintains allows us all to connect with local communities on a level otherwise impossible."

Szentes Axe and Breakthrough were conducted May 31-June 11 and June 4-15 in Szentes and Varpalota, respectively. Szentes Axe was designed to enable freedom of movement for allied forces and sustainment operations throughout the area. The exercise culminated in a line-of-communication re-establishment wet gap crossing. Breakthrough tested several fires systems, increasing interoperability and readiness between the Hungarian Defense Forces and the U.S. Army National Guard units from four different states.