The Hungarian-American bilateral military cooperation is well established, the main areas of cooperation concentrate on joint training, deployment and operations. Common education and training take place within the International Military Education and Training program and mostly concentrates on senior level education, as well as basic officer and NCO training. Military technical cooperation is a key for improving interoperability and efficiency. Hungarian and American servicemen fight shoulder to shoulder in Afghanistan and other key theaters. Hungary contributes to the joint efforts with critical capabilities.
HUNGARIAN AND AMERICAN SERVICEMEN SERVE TOGETHER IN OPERATIONS
Hungary provides a multi-faceted contribution to the NATO-led ISAF mission, including combat forces that protect Kabul International Airport (KAIA), special operations forces without caveats, and mentors and trainers as well as a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Afghanistan’s Baghlan Province that has implemented civilian development projects in cooperation with USAID.
We follow the principle of „in together, out together” in planning our participation. As we are transforming our posture in line with the transition strategy of handing off security responsibility to Afghan forces, our troop levels will actually increase temporarily. Currently, roughly half of our troops deployed abroad are in Afghanistan. Hungary has also announced its contribution to sustaining Afghan National Security Forces beyond 2014 by committing $1,500,000 for the period 2015-17.
Hungarian and American servicemen and women carry out complex, sometimes the most demanding special operations type of missions together. Our Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT), manned jointly in Baghlan with Ohio National Guard troops, has trained and fought with a battalion-size Afghan force so it could reach full operational capability. The OMLT will be redeployed as a Military Advisory Team (MAT). We celebrate the 20th Anniversary of successful cooperation between Hungarian Defense Forces and the Ohio National Guard in 2013.
We put a premium on interoperability: Hungarian personnel use US supplied tactical equipment (HMMWVs, night vision goggles, combat radios) extensively in Afghanistan to increase the combat value of our deployed units.
For FY2012 Congress approved $13,3 million for development of Joint Tactical Air Control (JTAC) capability within selected units – a testament to the skills and demonstrated ability of Hungarian servicemen. JTAC, meaning the capability by ground troops to call in tactical air support is a sophisticated and highly valued skill even in the US military.
In 2011, on average 14% of the overall force strength of land forces were deployed in different operations and missions (NATO, EU and other - over 70 % with NATO) in conformity with NATO’s usability target of 10%. Hungary also contributes around 200 troops (a maneuver company and staff officers) to Kosovo Force (KFOR).
CONTRIBUTION TO CRITICAL CAPABILITIES
By hosting and participating in the Strategic Airlift Capability Program (SAC), Hungary contributes to meeting a critical NATO and EU capability shortfall. The Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), based at Pápa airbase in Hungary is the operational unit of SAC, featuring three state-of-the-art C-17 strategic lift aircraft employed for a diverse mission set that has included supply missions to Afghanistan and humanitarian missions to Haiti.
In the wake of our losses, Hungary has strengthened its capabilities to counter improvised explosive devices (IED). In order to contribute to saving the life of our and allied soldiers, Hungary conducts NATO accredited advanced counter-IED “train the trainer” courses that help meet one of the most critical threats on today’s battlefields.
Hungary leads NATO’s only accredited Military Medical Center of Excellence since 2009. The Center provides cutting-edge combat medical training and expertise to deployed forces. At the NATO Chicago Summit, Hungary announced that in 2015-18 timeframe it will contribute fighter jets to the Baltic Air Policing mission, an important Smart Defense initiative. Our combat aircraft will be deployed to help guard the airspace of Baltic states with no air force of their own, freeing up defense resources that they can invest in other capabilities.
Hungary also participates in NATO efforts to defend against weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by offering chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defense assets (e.g. a mobile biological laboratory) as part of the NATO Reaction Force.