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Strong bastion on international foundations

Text: Gábor Kálmánfi | Photo: by the author |  14:00 June 21, 2023

NATO’s command structure will become complete with the Székesfehérvár-based Headquarters Multinational Division Centre (HQ MND-C) achieving full operational capability (FOC) at the end of this year. The international Exercise Strong Bastion 2023 is a milestone in this process, since this is the event during which evaluators of the Alliance are conducting the Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL) of the Headquarters.


Currently, HQ MND-C is in the middle of the CREVAL process that started this February, and its most important event is the computer-assisted command post exercise to be conducted at two venues, in Croatia and Hungary. Exercise Strong Bastion 2023 is based on a NATO Article 5, high-intensity, mock operation. According to the fictitious scenario, the staff of HQ MND-C is planning, organizing and directing the operations of a division-level military element. The exercise involves more than 220 personnel from HQ MND-C, and their activities are to be evaluated by a 50-man team of NATO evaluators. The personnel of Headquarters NATO Rapid Deployable Corps – Spain (HQ NRDC-ESP) are playing the role of the Higher Control (HICON) element, and the staffs of the Lower Control (LOCON) units are composed of Slovakian, Croatian and Hungarian soldiers.

Speaking at the opening ceremony held on 20 June, Major General Ferenc Kajári, Deputy Chief of the HDF General Staff said that this exercise was a milestone in a four-and-a-half-year process which had started with the establishment of HQ MND-C.


“Our intention with the establishment of HQ MND-C was to fill the perceived gap in NATO’s command structure, since at that time there was no such military organization in the region of Central Europe. According to plans, HQ MND-C will achieve its full operational capability (FOC) by the end of this year, and this achievement will make NATO’s command structure complete, which is especially important in the present security environment”, said Major General Kajári, who thanked the military organization led by Commander Major General Denis Tretinjak for its efforts and performance so far. He added that this exercise is of special importance both to Hungary and to NATO, partly because once again, Hungarian soldiers are demonstrating their outstanding ability to perform their tasks to high standards in an international environment.

The core purpose of HQ MND-C is to ensure the integration of declared NATO forces and capabilities into a tactical higher unit, and to be capable of leading them across the full spectrum of land operations in order to contribute to the maintenance of allied and regional security.

The exercise kicked off on 19 June and lasts for two weeks, during which the HQ MND-C Forward Command Post (FCP) is to deploy to Croatia, so it provides communication between the peacetime garrison and the “area of operations”, and at once the Hungarian Support Element can also demonstrate its preparedness.