To Headquarters Multinational Corps South-East (HQ MNC-SE), reaching Final Operational Capability (FOC) is the culmination of a long and strenuous process initiated in July 2018 when Romania offered to develop land command and control capacity at corps-level on its territory, in the South-Eastern part of SACEUR’s area of responsibility (AOR). It all started with a core staff in Bucharest, and after participating in the Exercise Defender Europe 21, the structure achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in June 2021, just before redeploying to Sibiu.
FOC stands as the achievement of a long and intense cycle of development that will allow HQ MNC-SE to validate the operational level obtained during STJU23 and its ability to fully contribute to the reinforcement of NATO՚s deterrence and defence posture on the South-Eastern flank of NATO.
The road to Full Operational Capability
DEFENDER EUROPE 21 CAX/CPX (10 – 14 June 2021)
After participating in the Exercise Defender Europe 21, the HQ MNC-SE achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in June 2021, just before redeploying to Sibiu.
The IOC confirmed HQ MNC-SE’s ability to develop an initial capability for advanced planning and, as a result, contribute to the Alliance’s deterrence through posture management.
About 400 military of HQ MNC-SE, the 46th Support Regiment, the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) from the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Army for Europe and Africa’s (USAREUR-AF) V Corps participated in the exercise, as well as military from different structures of the Romanian Army.
LOYAL LEDA 22 CAX/CPX ( 30 November – 09 December 2022)
The exercise was conducted on the territory of several NATO states, with the participation of more than 1,000 military from HQ MNC-SE, the Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) in Türkiye, HQ MND-SE, together with experts from NATO structures and the Romanian Armed Forces.
As a result of the entire multinational personnel’s commitment during exercise Loyal Leda 22, HQ MNC-SE was able to develop the planned command and control capability until December 2022, the second milestone on the road to FOC. By becoming NATO՚s land command and control capability in the South-East of SACEUR’s AOR, one month after this accomplishment, HQ MNC-SE was able to assume control of all NATO forces throughout Romania and Bulgaria.
The effort towards becoming a fully operational corps was tremendous, concurrently with its still ongoing development processes in all domains (infrastructure, CIS, individual and collective training, preparation of the exercises). At the same time, it exercised command and control over NATO՚s subordinate units throughout its own area of operation and fully acted as an operational headquarters to the higher NATO command structures.
DEFENDER EUROPE 23 CAX/CPX (05 – 15 June 2023)
Defender Europe 2023 fully demonstrated headquarters’ command and control capability and represents a great opportunity for HQ MNC-SE to reconfirm the ability to achieve Full Operational Capability by the end of 2023.
Approximately 250 military from HQ MNC-SE, 1 German-Netherlands Corps (1 GNC), USAREUR-AF and the 208th Digital Liaison Detachment took part in the exercise.
STEADFAST JUPITER 2023 CAX/CPX (10 – 19 October 2023)
Along exercise Defender 23, Steadfast Jupiter 23 (STJU23) demonstrated the development of the newest corps headquarters in NATO, more and more prepared to meet the challenges of a changing security environment.
Exercise STJU23 is a Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) scheduled Command Post Exercise and Computer Assisted Exercise, with a focus on the Joint Operational level.
Directed by the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), STJU23 is designed to strengthen low-and high-intensity warfighting skillsets of the NATO Command and Force Structure Headquarters in all domains, using multiple joint operations area (JOA) scenarios.
11-12 July 2018: The President of Romania, His Excellency Mr. Klaus-Werner IOHANNIS, announced at the NATO Summit in Brussels (Belgium) that Romania offered to develop NATO land command and control capacity at corps-level on its territory in the context of the necessary measures to adapt the NATO command structure and taking into account the need to adapt to an unstable regional and international security environment;
19 December 2018: The Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAȚ) approved the establishment of Headquarters Multinational Corps South-East (HQ MNC-SE) on the territory of Romania within the Sibiu garrison, with temporary deployment of this structure in the country’s capital, Bucharest;
March 2020: The Post Allocation Conference and the Memorandum of Understanding Conference took place at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium, with the participation of representatives from many NATO member states. Most of the participating nations committed to support the development of the new multinational HQ, including with personnel and/or logistics;
16 April 2020: The Homeland Defense Supreme Council approved the establishment of the Headquarters Multinational Corps South-East on the national territory, in Sibiu, with temporary deployment in Bucharest. Romania officially committed to the role of framework nation;
18 June 2020: The Parliament of Romania approved the establishment of HQ MNC-SE on the territory of Romania by Decision no. 8 of June 18, 2020, as a NATO Military Body with International Military Headquarters status, subordinated by line of command to an allied command;
23 July 2020: The establishment ceremony of HQ MNC-SE took place at the National Joint Training Centre “Getica” in Cincu, Brașov County in the presence of the President of Romania, of the Minister of National Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff;
16 February 2021: In accordance with the Nord Atlantic Council (NAC) decision HQ MNC-SE was activated as a NATO Military Body and enjoys the status of NATO International Military Headquarters in accordance with the Paris Protocol on the status of international military headquarters set up pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Paris on August 28, 1952, and in accordance with the Agreement between the Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty regarding the status of their forces, signed in London, June 19, 1951. The activation officially integrates HQ MNC-SE within the NATO Force Structure (NFS);
14 June 2021: MNC-SE Commander, Lieutenant General Tomiță-Cătălin TOMESCU assumed the achievement of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) at the end of the Command Post Exercise DEFENDER Europe 21, which enabled it to function as a corps headquarters within the NFS;
1 July 2021: HQ MNC-SE is relocated from Bucharest to Sibiu garrison and it officially begins its activity in accordance with the Decision no. 8 of June 18, 2020 of the Parliament of Romania;
28 February 2022: The Multinational Corps South East (HQ MNC-SE) held the Change of Command Ceremony in Sibiu Garrison. Lieutenant General Tomiță-Cătălin TOMESCU, who has been in charge of HQ MNC-SE since its establishment in July 2020, handed over command of the multinational corps to Major General Dragoş-Dumitru IACOB. The ceremony was attended by the Chief of the Romanian Defense Staff, General Daniel PETRESCU, the Deputy Commander of the Allied Joint Forces Command Naples, Lieutenant General Jocelyn PAUL, the Commander of the Allied Land Forces Command (LANDCOM), Lieutenant General Roger J. CLOUTIER, and representatives of public authorities and structures from the national system of defense, public order and national security;
20 January 2023: MNC-SE assumed command and control of the NATO land forces deployed in Bulgaria and Romania: Multinational Division South-East (MND-SE), NATO Force Integration Unit Bulgaria (NFIU-BGR) and NATO Force Integration Unit Romania (NFIU-ROU) in a ceremony conducted at the headquarters of the Multinational Division South-East in Bucharest;
23 October 2023: HQ MNC-SE achieved the Full Operational Capability (FOC) at the end of STEADFAST JUPITER 2023 Exercise when it was certified by the NATO Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) as army corps-level unit able to ensure the command and control of NATO’s land operations in MNC-SE area of operations, in peace time, crisis and conflict.
15 January 2024: The Multinational Corps South-East held the Change of Command Ceremony in Sibiu Garrison. Lieutenant-General Dragoș-Dumitru IACOB handed over command of the MNC-SE to Major-General Cristian-Daniel DAN, in the presence of the Chief of the Romanian Defense, General Gheorghiță VLAD and the Deputy Commander of Joint Force Command Naples (JFC Naples), Lieutenant-General Stephen KELSEY.