Thursday, August 16, 2007

Agreements set for Romania deployment

By Charlie Coon, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Thursday, August 16, 2007



U.S.-Romania agreements

Agreements signed by the U.S. and Romania for military training in Romania and some of the areas they cover:

Land training: Training that can be done, ordnance used.
Air training: Airspace rules, safety procedures, training calendar.
Medical: Governs who can treat whom, as well as hospitalization, payment and insurance issues.
Mortuary affairs: Performance of autopsies; issuance of death certificates; custody and disposition of bodies.
Security: Gate access, ID cards, use of firearms, surveillance, rights to arrest.
Communications: Radio frequencies, construction of receiver sites off-post.
Environment: Pre-usage site surveys, hazardous materials storage, disposal and cleanup, real estate management.
Command relationships: Interactions between U.S. and Romanian commanders, areas of responsibility.

Agreements made but not yet reviewed, signed by proper authorities include:

  • Criminal jurisdiction.
  • Claims.
  • Tax exemption.
  • Customs.
  • Integrating of military support activities (postal, etc.).
  • Contracting.
  • Local-national labor.

Source: U.S. European Command

STUTTGART, Germany — What happens when a truck full of sand rolls up to the security gate and needs to get inside?

Who pays for asbestos to be hauled away?

What kind of bombs can we drop?

Even as the first rotation of U.S. troops arrives in Romania as part of a historic deployment, the former Soviet bloc nation and the U.S. are working out details on how their shared military facilities will operate for years to come.

Eight agreements were signed last month in Bucharest, the Romanian capital, while another nine have been agreed upon by negotiators.

It is hoped that the contracts will answer questions when they arise as the U.S. and Romanian militaries embark on a partnership expected to last at least 10 years.

“(In the future) there really won’t be as much to discuss because most of it will already have been agreed upon,” said Army Col. Craig A. Meredith, deputy staff judge advocate of the U.S. European Command.

“We get these agreements into words that work in both the English and Romanian languages that will stand the test of time.”

About 1,000 mostly Europe-based military personnel and civilians on Friday will have a ceremony to commence the United States’ first deployment to Joint Task Force East.

The task force, headquartered at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta, will coordinate the deployments of battalion- and brigade-sized U.S. forces to Romania and Bulgaria.

At least seven facilities in Romania and Bulgaria will be used, but it’s not as simple as the Romanians simply opening their gates and saying, “Come on in.”

Agreements have been signed that regulate who comes in and out of the installations and who has the authority to survey the fence line and, if necessary, arrest trespassers.

Another agreement addresses radio frequencies and construction of receiver sites. Some regulate such details as the performance of an autopsy if someone dies or is killed.

“Some time ago during a exercise, a U.S. military person died and they didn’t know what to do,” Meredith said.

A joint committee was established in June to oversee the agreements and settle disputes.

Similar agreements are being worked out with Bulgaria, Meredith said. U.S. troops are expected to deploy there in 2008.

U.S. troops will train by themselves and with Romanian, Bulgarian and other forces at the Babadag and Cincu training areas and Smardan and Malina firing ranges in Romania, as well as the Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria.

Eventually, while the task force headquarters would remain in Constanta, the brigade that rotates in from the U.S. could be headquartered at Novo Selo. Training rotations of up to six months are planned.

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