GROUND PEPPER 2014: Cooperation, Unity and Cohesion

Autor: Nuala Casey, Oldrich Holecek

The Czech military contingent is the second largest unit taking part in the week-long multinational field training exercise, GROUND PEPPER 2014, which is being held at the Lest Training Centre in the Slovak Republic until 22nd October.

The aim of the exercise is to prepare the armed forces of the Visegrad 4 countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and a U.S. Army contingent for joint defence and attack operations that increases readiness, responsiveness and interoperability, according to Article 5 of the NATO Washington Treaty. Article 5 commits NATO Allies to assist and protect each other in the event of an armed attack, which sets the principle of collective defence.


The international command and staff of the exercise will undergo a series of simulated incidents and events, in order to determine and improve how the tactical units react, solve and respond to these scenarios. GROUND PEPPER 2014 is made up of 1,300 personnel, with 72 pieces of equipment, and approximately 630 weapons systems and small arms. Colonel Martin Michalko, Commander of the 2nd Mechanised Brigade, based in Presov, Slovak Republic, is the Director of the exercise.

The different Task Force units are assembled according to the specialities of the participants, regardless of their nationality, and the operating language is English. Soldiers not only learn how to solve a “current” crisis situation, but also gain first-hand knowledge in cooperation and decision making from each other.

The Commander of the 3rd Motorised Company of the Czech 44th Light Motorised Battalion, which comprises of 76 soldiers and 13 Iveco vehicles, Captain Radim Pejcoch, said, “For us, this exercise really is a new, unknown experience. Our task is to defend the perimeter of the company, which is not normally our main area of tactical practice but, in this case, it is with the support of a Slovak tank platoon, so the procedure is consistent with the operation’s original concept.”

October 20, 2014