This Monday NATO’s Deployable Joint Task Force (DJTF) from Allied Forces Southern Europe, in Naples, Italy, started receiving training at the Ulsnes site, a former naval station hosting the JWC training facility, where some 130 personnel have gathered for this week’s event.

The JWC’ goal for training NATO’s mobile operational staff is to prepare the DJTF to deal with all kinds of real NATO crises, such as asymmetrical threats like acts of terror. The JWC provides facilities to give the best training possible, conducts the training and review procedures once the training is completed.

Training agency When conducting a training review, the JWC has to examine what went right and wrong and also to offer suggestions for improvements. “It is important to bear in mind that we are a training agency rather than a testing facility. We are to provide the best training possible and subsequently give constructive feedback,” said Major General James Short. He is responsible for the event and JWC Chief of Staff.

“We want to see how staff respond to different incidents. We make them practice new procedures, and will help them work successfully,” added the Major General. “The vignettes cause staff to respond, and they have to address various problems.”

During the week three different scenarios will be played, all completely hypothetical, but nevertheless of relevance. Staff will have to face air crashes, mass evacuations and suicide attacks.

Still challenges There are still challenges for JWC to overcome to achieve its full potential as a NATO training centre. Today’s biggest challenge is communication, i.e. making NATO understand what JWC can do for the organisation. JWC needs to pass on NATO-wide what it is able to do and deliver, and this is a time-consuming operation.

The Major General thinks that other headquarters will eventually begin to appreciate JWC’ great potential for conducting training and exercises. “We are the first organisation to produce complete exercises. We are more efficient and cost efficient than other alternatives because we provide the full solution. We are an implementation agency that delivers training.”