The Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) was established on 23 October 2003 at Jatta, Stavanger, Norway, as an integral part of the new NATO Military Command Structure, which was launched at the 2002 Prague Summit, and subordinate to Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT.)
Norway has a proud NATO heritage, which dates back to 1951. The City of Stavanger has been hosting NATO since 1994. The JWC is the third headquarters to inhabit the site at Jatta, inheriting it from Joint Headquarters North (2000-2003), which replaced Headquarters North (1994-2000), both of which were officially inaugurated and deactivated as a result of NATO's military command restructuring.
Upon its establishment, the JWC was directly associated with two of the five NATO transformational processes described in NATO Military Committee document, MC 324/1, dated 16 May 2003, which were:
- Training and Education;
- Joint and Combined Concept Development, Experimentation, Assessment and Doctrine.
At the core of NATO's operational level training stands the JWC. The motto of the JWC is "Transformation in Action" or more recently, "Train As You Fight", both of which mean that the Centre constantly changes the military mindset by introducing robust, highly realistic and demanding joint and combined training, innovative concepts, capabilities and curricula into the NATO Alliance to enable its overall military transformation.
The JWC's first exercise took place just three months after the Centre's activation, from 1 to 6 February 2004 for 130 staff of 11 Nations assigned to AFSOUTH, which was designated as NATO's first Deployable Joint Task Force (DJTF) headquarters.
The first ISAF Mission Rehearsal Training at Ulsnes Interim Training Facility was conducted for the sixth rotation of ISAF, led by Headquarters EUROCORPS, on their way to deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan. It took place from 18 to 22 June 2004 and consisted of a Training Audience of 400 participants coming from 14 NATO and Partner Nations.
The JWC achieved its Full Operational Capability in June 2006. As an important milestone, the JWC and Kingdom of Norway held a signing ceremony for the new Memorandum of Agreement on 21 June 2006, a document which is the basis for Host Nation Support and implementing arrangements crucial to the sustainability of the JWC and an excellent example that demonstrates the commitment of Norway to the Joint Warfare Centre.
The funds for JWC's new training facility in Jatta were authorized by NATO on 25 April 2006. Just like the JWC itself, the new training facility is a ground-breaking transformational concept for NATO, making the JWC stand out as one of the world's most state-of-the-art training centres with a capacity to train up to 600 personnel at once. Built on an area of 13,390 square metres, the five-storey building gives the Centre a state-of-the-art training, experimentation and conference facility. In November 2009, the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organization, on behalf of NATO, signed a major acquisition contract valued at more than 100 million NOK with a local company to provide Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and support to the new facility.
The Foundation Stone for the new training facility was laid during a ceremony on 23 October 2008, exactly five years to the day the Centre was officially inaugurated in 2003.
Exercise STEADFAST JOIST 12 (SFJT 12), which took place from 02 to 16 May 2012 and tested NATO’s new Deployable Joint Headquarters (DJHQ) concept, was the first training event ever to be conducted in the new JWC training facility.
The Centre's long term objective is "a powerful joint warfare centre efficiently delivering a training and transformation capability, meeting the NATO Level of Ambition and integrating emerging concepts."
JOINT WARFARE CENTRE DIRECTORS / COMMANDERS
Lieutenant General Thorstein Skiaker, Norwegian Army
(October 2003-September 2004)
Major General James Short OBE, British Army
(September 2004-February 2005)
Air Marshal Peter Walker CB CBE FRAeS, Royal Air Force
(February 2005-July 2007)
Lieutenant General Wolfgang Korte, German Army
(July 2007 – June 2011)
Major General Jean Fred Berger, French Army
(June 2011 – current)