During the exercise, units from all seven participating countries trained in carrying out joint military operations. The exercise was based on a scenario in which there was a conflict between ethnic and religious groups, and NBG was called upon to protect the local population and support local authorities.
"NBG must be able to operate as a peacemaker and prevent conflicts. They should be able to provide support for humanitarian operations, evacuation, reconstruction and assist with military advice," says the army chief, Major-General Anders Brännström.
Many pieces in the puzzle
The overall objective of the exercise was to make all the parties involved work together and achieve the requirements set by the EU. For the operation to succeed, all personnel must understand their own role and the task of their unit.
"There was a great deal to consider during the exercise, such as how to deal with refugees and civilians. Everyone in NBG represents Sweden, and you have to be tolerant and show consideration towards different religions and traditions in the country you are working in," says Rickard Dahlbom, a soldier taking part in this exercise.
"It was a good exercise and the unit made tremendous progress during the week. It was very pleasing to see how a well-functioning and coherent unit took shape," says Lieutenant Colonel Olof Johansson, deputy exercise leader.
Trust is important
Trusting in your own ability, in comrades by your side and in your leaders is essential when you are working in crisis areas and conflict zones. That is why we worked on strengthening cohesion in the unit during this exercise.
"I would feel very safe with my comrades if we found ourselves in a combat situation. We have specialists in all areas in our unit and I feel one hundred per cent trust in our leaders," says Rickard Dahlbom.
The army chief visiting Rickard and his comrades during the exercise also expressed his confidence in the unit.
"They have trained a lot and they are very good. If a situation should arise where they are needed, I am convinced that they would make a difference. Of course, there are always some details where you need to put the finishing touches, and that is why it is important from a psychological point of view to have a good debriefing session after training," says Anders Brännström.
Skills development through practice
The exercise, together with preparations for being on standby in 2015, has given the participants new experience and knowledge that may well prove useful in their future professions.
"They have been trained in health care, handling the media, mine clearance, CBRN and many other areas. Becoming more skilled, both individually and collectively, is a very positive side effect of the exercise," says Anders Brännström.
Another positive aspect is the understanding shown by the general public.
"People in the neighbourhood were very accepting, and we mostly received positive reactions. This is largely a result of their being informed by mail shots, advertisements and press releases before the exercise began," says the deputy exercise leader, Olof Johansson.