Navy's Top Explosives Exploitation Unit in BALTOPS 2019

Story Number: NNS190621-14Release Date: 6/21/2019 2:05:00 PM
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From Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

TODENDORF, SH, GERMANY (NNS) -- The Navy’s Expeditionary Exploitation Unit 1 (EXU 1) operated in the Baltic Sea region to support the BALTOPS 2019 Mine Warfare Task Group. 

The command is the Navy’s premiere expeditionary team that provides weapons technical intelligence to support both tactical explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operators as well as to Fleet-level operational commanders. This is most visible in the work its forward-deployed platoons conduct, in multiple fleet areas of operation, as the on-call providers for fleet commanders in support of incidents involving explosives.

EXU 1 is used the opportunity to work from the German military base in Todendorf, Germany for more than two weeks to fully integrate with the 11-nation Mine Warfare Task Group, but also as a proof of concept for the way it fits within a command-and-control structure. 

“This is an important exercise for us,” said Lt. Cmdr. Eli Ford, the command’s executive officer. “It is great to work so closely with our international partners within the Task Group, but also to integrate into the command-and-control structure in a “battalion-light” way with them to test challenge our capacity to operationalize the exploitation capability we provide.” 

The command previously operated as the Technical Support Detachment under Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Indian Head Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD) – a component of Naval Sea Systems Command – until its establishment as commander command in June 2018. 

Throughout BALTOPS 2019, the EXU 1 team participated in training events where they integrated with EOD teams who first neutralized ordnance, and then brought it to a location where EXU-1’s team exploited the explosives to gather intelligence that informed the operational picture. Prvious real-world events informed each of the training events.

“In just the short time we’ve been here so far, we’ve already learned a lot from our ongoing training with our international and U.S. Navy partners,” said Ford. “The capability we have is an important one for operational commanders, but it is important that we bring that to bear in the most efficient and effective way possible.” 

The BALTOPS Mine Warfare Task Group (CTG 162.60) includes more than 15 MCM ships, 15 undersea unmanned vehicles (UUV), five drone ships, airborne MCM (AMCM), and more than 70 divers. Mariners and mine warfare experts from 11 allied nations that comprise three distinct task units led by the Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON), Standing NATO MCM Group (SNMCMG) 1, and MCMDIV 31.

Nations participating in the BALTOPS 2019 Mine Warfare Task Group include Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

Nations participating in BALTOPS 2019 include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

BALTOPS is an opportunity to promote partnerships, presence, and professionalism through an unambiguous display of strength in the Baltic region.

Navy’s Top Exploitation Unit in Baltic Sea for First Major Exercise
Lt. Spencer Johnson, CEXC platoon commander, discusses CEXC and Advanced Exploitation Capability (AEC) tools and skill sets with Commander, U.S. Second Fleet Vice Adm. Andrew "Woody" Lewis, Commander of Task Force 162, leading exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2019. BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, marking the 47th year of one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe enhancing flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon E. Renfroe (Released)
June 20, 2019
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