OOSTENDE, Belgium -- Dynamic Move (DME17), an annual two-week long Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) tactical-level Mine Counter Measure (MCM) exercise, began Monday with more than 150 participants representing 15 countries, including Partnership for Peace (PFP) countries Finland and Sweden.
The Belgium-Netherlands Naval Mine Warfare School EGUERMIN annually hosts the exercise and is supported by the co-located NATO Naval Mine Warfare Center of Excellence to execute DME17. The exercise began under the name of Dynamic Move in 2011, although it has run for decades under other names.
DME17 aims to enhance participants’ ability to conduct mine counter measure operations in support of littoral operations, to include communicating threat information to maritime traffic and civil authorities. Inclusion of NATO and non-NATO nations lends to enhanced learning and mutual understanding amongst partner nations.
"Conducting mine warfare training better prepares NATO and partner nations to provide a safe and secure environment for civilian shipping,” said Lieutenant Commander Jeremiah Petersen (USA), a NATO Shipping Centre staff officer.
Additionally, the exercise prepares Standing NATO Mine Counter Measure Groups (SNMCMG) for NATO Response Force (NRF) certification and constitutes a portion of the training period for SNMCMGs. The current Standing NATO Mine Counter Measure Group 1 staff are participating in DME17 and working alongside the incoming SNMCMG1 commander and members of his staff, allowing for information exchange between the incumbent and incoming command staffs and sharing of current operational experience.
"We have 15 nations here playing together,” said Peter Van Mierlo (NLD), Staff Officer (Operational Analysis). "That increases your interoperability while practicing NATO tactics and techniques, and there is no other equivalent [training in NATO].”
EGUERMIN’s Naval Mine Warfare Gaming System (NMWGS) has been used in Dynamic Move since 2015. NMWGS creates an interactive scenario in a naval mine counter measure environment and allows players to receive immediate feedback.
"[NMWGS] is unique because it is the only war gaming system that simulates naval mine warfare in the world,” said Lieutenant Commander Filip Clauwaert (BEL), Head of Simulators for EGUERMIN and the exercise logistics coordinator. "It simulates the interaction between mines and ships who are sailing, the environment, and their equipment which is used to look for and destroy mines.”
From the start, participants are split into three task groups, each training separately in parallel scenarios. During phase one of the exercise, participants plan and issue their operational objectives and prepare for phase two. During phase two, they plan and execute naval mine counter-measure operations in a scenario-based environment.
This year exercise planners have allocated time for daily discussions between previous SNMCMG commanders and exercise participants to analyze the day’s events and make adjustments to improve the next day’s performance.
"By conducting in-stride reconstruction and analysis of all events and daily debriefing by senior naval officers we are accelerating the lessons learned process and boosting command and control readiness,” said Van Mierlo.
"For MARCOM this is an important exercise where the mine counter measure community in NATO gather and learn to operate together,” said Captain Svein Erik Kvalvaag (NOR), DME17 Exercise Director. "The training audience is not training only mine counter measure but also force protection, logistic coordination and naval coordination and guidance of shipping.”