The NATO maritime mine countermeasures (MCM) coordination exercise, Dynamic Move, conducted over the past two weeks saw more than 140 navy personnel from 24 NATO and Partner nations at the binational Navy Academy (NAC) in Ostende, Belgium.

“Mine warfare is often a forgotten warfare which doesn’t feature much in the news, but it’s one which is necessary for our forces to deploy and ensure freedom of navigation,” said Captain John Saussez, Task Force Commander. “This exercise is very valuable staff training for a real world situation.”

Organized by NATO's Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), two Task Force Battle Staffs each led two Task Groups with overall six Task Units in a simulated crisis. The Task Force Battle Staffs included Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1), the US Navy’s Mine Warfare Battle Staff from the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center and a Mine Warfare Battle Staff comprised of Scandinavian Allies and Partners.

With 90% of commerce travelling over the sea, ensuring sea lines of communication (SLOC) are safe is MARCOM MCM’s top priority. NATO maintains two groups of mine countermeasures ships ready to respond to a crisis if needed. Practicing large scale mine clearance operations in the computer aided exercise maintains a high level of readiness keeping Sailors’ skills sharp.

Several academics also attended the exercise, giving training and briefings in subjects related to MCM warfare, including mine warfare legal aspects, amphibious operations and media training.

Naval Mine Warfare Gaming System (NMWGS) has been used in Dynamic Move since 2015. NMWGS creates an interactive scenario in a naval mine counter measures environment and allows players to receive immediate feedback.

Lieutenant Rick Harders, Head of Technical Department for NMWGS, said the system is vital for the exercise. “The successful continuation of the Dynamic Move series of exercises is dependent on using the state of the art Naval Mine Warfare Gaming System (NMWGS),” he said, “which is provided by the Belgian Navy Academy and the engineers that support it.”

Dynamic Move is a biannual exercise held in two locations. Part one is held in Oostend, Belgium, early in the year, and the second is held in La Spezia, Italy in the early autumn. Each part of the exercise allows mine countermeasures personnel from across the Alliance to come together to enhance interoperability, hone tactics and procedures, and ensure NATO is ready to work together at a moment’s notice when called upon.

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