STAVANGER, Norway – Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack, Commander Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), held a virtual meeting with General André Lanata, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), on March 9, 2021.
Senior officers from both commands also attended the virtual meeting to provide detailed information and further guidance on the agenda topics.
A year after he hosted the NATO Military Committee visit at the JWC, which was organized by General Lanata, Rear Admiral Kaack reflected on the Centre’s accomplishments in 2020 and sketched the way forward.
Rear Admiral Kaack underlined that despite the challenges of the global pandemic, 2020 had been a highly successful and dynamic year for the JWC. The Centre continued to adapt to meet the future growth in ambition for NATO exercises, and concluded the year with STEADFAST JUPITER-JACKAL 2020 – NATO’s largest command post exercise in 2020 – which was a resounding success providing unique training opportunities to train and evaluate the 2021 NATO Response Force (NRF) headquarters.
“The innovation we displayed to deliver this exercise has been broadly discussed in NATO,” the Commander said.
Rear Admiral Kaack then explained the significance of JWC’s “Vision 2025”, which was launched in early 2020, involving staff at all levels of the organization, to reinforce the Centre’s processes and outputs in exercise delivery, warfare development, organizational effectiveness, and human capital.
“We were able to take the opportunity to examine our existing business model. As a result, we have refined our internal processes, and made significant progress towards a command-wide professional development programme,” the Commander explained.
Rear Admiral Kaack added: “During this process, we have put a lot of thought into making the headquarters more effective; empowering our people, finding new ways to deliver cross-functional support within the headquarters, as well as enhancing our agility by developing new products, such as the wargaming design capability.”
The Commander underlined that, during the pandemic, his focus had been on the protection of the staff, their families, and the wider community, whilst delivering the Centre’s important mission.
Reflecting on the two visits to the JWC in 2020 by Stavanger’s Mayor Mrs. Kari Nessa Nordtun and the Norwegian Chief of Defence, General Eirik Kristoffersen, Rear Admiral Kaack said: “The strong relationship, cooperation, and coordination with our Host Nation has helped us tremendously, and by working together, we have developed plans to safely conduct our exercises.”
Additionally, Rear Admiral Kaack highlighted that forging close ties with NATO’s centres of excellence and Norway’s total defence community would play a crucial role in the Centre’s continued success in the upcoming years.
The Commander also underlined that the creation of a Command Senior Enlisted Leader (CSEL) position at the JWC was one of the major accomplishments in 2020. “This appointment has proven to be an invaluable asset for me as the Commander, and for the organization as a whole,” he said.
"We are committed to working together with ACT to cope with the challenges of future warfare, especially on future exercise support capability study and warfare development coherence."
Contribution to NATO’s evolving warfare development
The JWC’s contribution to warfare development and delivery is a key part of a continuous process of developing, integrating, and training innovative concepts, lessons learned from operations, doctrines, and capabilities that, together, positions NATO to tackle emergent security challenges successfully.
Rear Admiral Kaack said: “How NATO will fight in the future is at the forefront of our mind and I am convinced that the Joint Warfare Centre’s exercises provide a unique and invaluable opportunity to test and refine warfare development objectives.”
The JWC directly supports warfare development through exercise delivery, experiment integration and doctrine validation, best practices, and development and management of synthetic scenarios with a 360-degree approach, making the Centre a key venue for warfare development agenda in Europe.
“With warfare development being one of the four lines of effort at our 2020 and 2021 vision workshops, we have put quite some effort into refining, standardising, testing, and developing new approaches – sometimes to old challenges,” Rear Admiral Kaack explained.
“The most prominent of our warfare development achievements, however, is the development of our wargame design capability, which has recently reached Initial Operating Capability. This was achieved through delivery of a NATO Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence-sponsored online wargame, which involved more than 60 participants from all over NATO, spanning from the United States to Bulgaria.”
Moving forward, the JWC will continue its unique mission linking NATO’s two Strategic Commands – Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation – through operational and strategic level exercises and warfare development efforts with the clear purpose of making NATO better, the Commander explained.
Rear Admiral Kaack said: “We are committed to working together with ACT to cope with the challenges of future warfare, especially on future exercise support capability study and warfare development coherence. All of this takes time and capacity, but it is enjoyable work as it provides our customers with the quality and depth of training they can rightfully demand. My team is willing, capable, and ready to support ACT in our common goal to make NATO better!”