The First NATO Joint Computer Assisted Exercise Forum (CAX FORUM) was held at NATO's Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) in Stavanger, Norway, 26-29 September 2006.

CAX FORUM focuses on technical issues and operating procedures relating to simulation-based exercise and training support. The Forum's primary goal is to promote the exchange of information and "best practices" between the staffs of NATO and national simulation centres. It also aims to provide a venue for bridging between JWC and national CAX centres, as well as, among the national CAX centres. This will help not only exchanging ideas but also connecting NATO nations to each other through NATO Education and Training Network (NETN).

In CAX FORUM'06 105 participants from 21 nations, i.e., Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and US, that represent simulation centre staffs actually involved in managing CAXs were present. The main theme of the Forum was NATO distributed CAXs and NETN.

The venue was opened by Director of JWC, Air Marshal Peter B Walker from the UK Royal Air Force, and the keynote was given by HQ SACT representative Major General Bjorn E Kristiansen from the Norwegian Air Force. During the Forum 45 presentations were made in nine sessions. Apart from these one full day tutorial about Joint Multi Resolution Modelling (JMRM) and two half day tutorials about Joint Exercise Management Module (JEMM) and ORBAT Editor were provided by US Joint Warfighting Center (JWFC), JWC and NC3A respectively.

JMRM is a federation of many models including Joint Theatre Level Simulation (JTLS) and Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation (JCATS). JTLS-JCATS part of JMRM will be available for NATO starting from June 2007, and it is planned to be used first time in a major NATO exercise in the first half of 2008. Challenges for the implementation of JMRM in NATO are identified and discussed during the Forum. Many nations expressed their interest to connect to JMRM in JWC by using simulation systems that run in their centres.

Commercial organizations directly involved in supporting simulation centres were also present in the Forum. 12 companies that produce CAX support tools made presentations and introduced themselves directly to the user community. They also demonstrated their products during a half day demonstration session.

In the evening of the 27th of September participants attended the Forum Banquet. It was designed such that the participants can meet and talk to their counterparts from the other nations, and therefore called "networking" banquet. That also provided a nice opportunity for JWC CAX support personnel to explain their counterparts the capabilities and availabilities of JWC. Many nations found these capabilities very useful for their national centres and the ideas to pass some of these capabilities also to the national simulation centres were exchanged.

At the end of the Forum all the participants were in agreement to repeat the Forum every year. It was decided to do the event in a different CAX centre every year but return it to JWC in every other year. In the next year the Forum may be held in the beginning of September in either HQ SACT, Norfolk or Joint Forces Training Centre, Bydgoszcz. The announcement for CAX FORUM'07 will be issued by the end of November 2006.

We would like to thank all the participants, as well as, the industrial representatives for their efforts and participation to make the First NATO Joint CAX Forum a success both for NATO and nations.

Dr. Erdal Cayirci
Chief, CAX Support Branch
NATO Joint Warfare Center
PO Box 8080, Eikesetveien
N-4068 Stavanger, Norway
Tel: +47 513 42 670, Fax: +47 513 42 609