December 8, 2018 – Rear Adm. John B. Mustin, deputy commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, addressed maritime planners from partner navies at the Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2019 Initial Planning Conference (IPC) conducted at the Polish Naval Academy Library Building, Dec. 4-6.
The three-day information exchange was attended by 14 participating nations and focused on determining structure and scenario outlines for the upcoming BALTOPS exercise, which is scheduled to be conducted in the Baltic Sea region in mid-2019.
“We owe it to our partnership, and to the world, to make a statement,” said Mustin. “BALTOPS allows us to promote peace and security through cooperation, collaboration, interoperability and an unambiguous display of strength in the Baltic region.”
Mustin elaborated on the exercise’s focus to demonstrate the interoperability of NATO allies and partners and to assure nations of NATO’s commitment to the security and stability of the Baltic Sea region.
BALTOPS is conducted annually and 2019 will mark the 47th execution of the exercise. Scheduled by U.S. Naval Forces Europe, it will be the first major evolution planned and executed by the re-established U.S. 2nd Fleet at a time of need for increased attention in the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean.
While in Poland, Rear Adm. Mustin also had the opportunity to meet with Polish leadership including Rear Adm. Jaroslaw Ziemianski, Navy Inspector, the head of the Polish Navy, in what was the first engagement between the newly established U.S. 2nd Fleet leadership and Poland.
“Serving together, studying together, and participating in exercises together increases our combined operational readiness,” said Mustin. “And that, as you know, helps secure a safer world.”
The BALTOPS planning conference introduced primary focus areas to include anti-air warfare, air-maritime integration, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures and amphibious and submarine operations against a near peer adversary using asymmetric tactics.
Mustin stated in closing that the opportunity exists to build BALTOPS 2019 to make it fit for its purpose, and fit for its time.