The new Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), officially inaugurated on October 23rd, is a result of NATO’s ongoing transformation. It comes into being as the old Joint Headquarters North (JHQN) ceases to exist. NATO has indeed got the JWC off to a fast start, as the reform of the defence organization’s Command Structure was endorsed as recently as June.
The JWC is headquartered in Stavanger, Norway. Its mission is to promote and conduct NATO’s joint and combined experimentation, analysis, and doctrine development processes to maximize transformational synergy and to improve NATO’s capabilities and interoperability. The JWC assists the Allied Command Transformation’s (ACT) developmental work on new technologies, modelling and simulation. The development of new concepts and doctrine for joint and combined staff is an essential part of its mission.
The creation of the JWC also means establishing a new structure of command. The JWC is currently subordinate to the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia. The centres available to the JWC consist of the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and the Joint Analysis & Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC) in Monsanto, Portugal.
Inauguration Ceremony The JWC was officially inaugurated on October 23rd with the JWC Activation Ceremony, marking both the deactivation of JHQN and the activation of the JWC. Many prominent guests attended the Activation Ceremony. General James Jones, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), made the opening remarks, followed by remarks from General Sir Jack Deverell, Commander Allied Forces North (COM AFNORTH), who performed the deactivation of JHQN.
The activation of the JWC was performed by Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr., Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT). Following his remarks, the JWC’s colours were presented to its Director, Lieutenant General Thorstein Skiaker. In accepting the colours, Lieutenant General Skiaker assumed his responsibilities and then offered his remarks.
The Commanders expressed in their remarks a profound satisfaction with the development of the JWC, its infrastructure and staff. They are all looking forward to a productive cooperation.
The Norwegian Minister of Defence, Mrs. Kristin Krohn Devold then held the final remarks, expressing great confidence in the Centre’s capabilities and also in the Norwegian Government’s willingness to support it. She gave an assurance that she is working hard to convince NATO member nations to send their best officers to the JWC.
Crest The JWC crest, consisting of three swords and the NATO star on a shield, symbolizes the present and future roles of the JWC. The swords come from the old JHQN crest, and represent land, sea and air, i.e. the idea of “joint”. They also represent the future; three swords – one for experimentation and doctrine development, one for analysis, one for training – sharp enough to cut right into the core of any problem to find the best solution. The shield forming the background is safeguarding NATO’s core values and traditions.
Mission As directed by Headquarters Allied Command Transformation (Hq SACT), the JWC is to promote and conduct NATO’s joint and combined experimentation, analysis, and doctrine development to maximize transformational synergy and to improve NATO’s capabilities and interoperability.
It assists Allied Command Transformation’s developmental work on new technologies, modelling and simulation. Through its subordinate Joint Allied Lesson Learned Centre (JALLC), the JWC is to perform joint analysis, collect lessons learned and feed them back into the transformation network.
The JWC conducts training on, as well as development of, the new concepts and doctrine for joint and combined staffs. Through its subordinate Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC), the JWC is to assist Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and Allied Command Operations (ACO) in promoting doctrine by training NATO forces. It also assists ACO in evaluating joint force training and has formal links to NATO agencies/bodies and national/multinational training centres/facilities.
Roles The main role of the JWC is to train Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) elements, NATO Response Force (NRF) Headquarters elements and NRF Component Headquarters elements. The JWC will conduct and enhance joint and combined training at the operational level for NATO. It will focus on preparing, managing and executing collective battle staff joint training for the CJTF, NRF and Component Command Headquarters, and NATO HQs deploying on operations. Additionally, the JWC will perform collective staff training for partner nations and new member nations.
The JWC assists ACO by conducting evaluation of collective battle staff joint training for certification, based on standards set by operational commanders. It will promote and implement NATO’s joint and combined experimentation, interoperability and doctrine development processes. The JWC will also facilitate development of joint doctrine and NATO standards, as well as incorporate state-of-the-art modelling and simulation capabilities to further interoperability and transformation within NATO.
Structure The JWC is collocated with the Norwegian National Joint Headquarters (NJHQ) at Mount Jåtta, in Stavanger, Norway. The Director of the JWC is Lieutenant General Thorstein Skiaker, who is also the Commander of the NJHQ. A staff of 280 people will be working at the JWC. The NJHQ has a staff of 457 when fully manned, which amounts to a total of 737 people when the base is fully manned.
The former Ulsnes naval base in Stavanger will be reopened for exercise and training of operational staffs. The Ulsnes site can accommodate 500 personnel, and the plans are that up to 150 personnel from operative headquarters will use the base for exercise and training.
The Future The short-term goal is to get a fully operational Centre up and going as soon as possible. The deadline for ensuring full operability is 24 months from now, in fall 2005. The manning process will be completed next year, hopefully bringing the best officers from many member nations to Mount Jåtta.