STAVANGER, Norway – The 10-day NATO Exercise STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 (STJA21) was concluded on December 9, at multiple exercise locations in Europe, including Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, France, and Norway.
Directed by the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), the computer-assisted command post exercise (CAX/CPX) involved the participation of nearly 2,500 civilian and military personnel.
The aim of STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 was to train and evaluate NATO Rapid Deployable Corps – Italy (NRDC-ITA) as a Joint Task Force Headquarters (JTF HQ) in planning and conducting a non-Article 5 small joint operation (SJO) under NATO, focusing on counter-hybrid activities, comprehensive approach, and stabilization.
The exercise also tested the operational capability of the French Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) implementing the new Air Command and Control (C2) concept as part of their certification process for NATO Response Force 2022 (NRF22).
Major General Piotr Malinowski, Commander JWC and the Exercise Director, underlined that the main objective of STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 was to prepare the Joint Task Force Commander for the challenges beyond Alliance territory.
“As a non-Article 5 exercise focusing on the Alliance’s Strategic Direction South, STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 demonstrated NATO’s commitment to stability and peace. It also demonstrated NATO’s preparedness to deliver Command and Control (C2) beyond its borders should the need arise,” Major General Malinowski said.
“In an unpredictable world, the solidarity of the Alliance remains paramount in delivering deterrence, and promoting conditions of stability. Our exercises at the strategic and operational levels ensure that Allied forces remain ready to respond to any current or future threat, whether it be for crisis response or collective defence. For that purpose, and also for increasing our interoperable capability, there is no end to training,” the Commander added.
“In an unpredictable world, the solidarity of the Alliance remains paramount in delivering deterrence, and promoting conditions of stability. Our exercises at the strategic and operational levels ensure that Allied forces remain ready to respond to any current or future threat, whether it be for crisis response or collective defence.”
Major General Piotr Malinowski
Commander Joint Warfare Centre and Exercise Director
Major General Piotr Malinowski, Commander JWC
Exercise STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 supported the 360-degree approach to the concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area (DDA) and NATO 2030 as was endorsed in June 2021.
Major General Malinowski earlier stressed: “There is a real-life relevance to what we will achieve together, so that we can respond to the threats of today, and make us fit for the future.”
In addition to the primary training audiences, the exercise also involved Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) as the theatre component command; the German Special Operations Component Command; NATO Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Reachback Element, and the CBRN Joint Assessment Team.
CDR Nick Meredith, exercise Deputy Chief Content, explained that the exercise challenged the JWC’s different training audiences against hybrid threats, using a realistic training scenario.
“STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 has once more demonstrated the flexibility and imagination of NATO in its approach to training, using a complex political setting and an unusually challenging geographical environment to present a wide variety of dilemmas for the training audiences. Countering hybrid threats, supporting the rules-based international order, and making the best use of joint forces are areas that are key to Allied security, and this exercise has provided a perfect platform to improve the understanding of the joint task force commander and better prepare them to face the challenges of the future,” CDR Meredith said.
During the exercise, the JWC hosted the bulk of the 450-strong Exercise Control (EXCON) personnel with local health and safety protocols for COVID-19 in place. The Centre’s EXCON Forward teams, including the advisory teams, the media simulation team, the Grey Cell and CIS experts were deployed at multiple exercise locations. EXCON was also augmented by staff from a variety of NATO Centres of Excellence.
"STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 has once more demonstrated the flexibility and imagination of NATO in its approach to training, using a complex political setting and an unusually challenging geographical environment to present a wide variety of dilemmas for the training audiences."
CDR Nick Meredith
JWC Deputy Chief Content for STJA21
The exercise was based on a fictitious training scenario that underscored NATO’s core tasks of crisis management and cooperative security to tackle global challenges to Allied security.
Major General (Ret.) Roger Lane, the Senior EXCON Advisor for the exercise, noted that the principles of a comprehensive approach underpinned the training objectives of the exercise, highlighting the need for effective civilian-military interaction for operational success. One key exercise function during the exercise was the JWC-led Grey Cell organization.
“The Joint Warfare Centre provides a complete wrap-around of the training audiences with media, computer simulation, higher HQs, subordinate units, host nations, Opposing Forces and the Grey Cell, amongst others. The Grey Cell comprises subject matter experts who are either role-players or real-world representatives from EU, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or the ICRC,” Lane said.
He added: “The Cell is a key client-facing part of the JWC, as the role players provide the platform to train NATO senior leaders, helping them to hone their influencing and communication skills, while others provide input from military and civilian specialisms to enrich the quality of planning and execution of operations.”
Lane explained that the Grey Cell for the exercise included role players from fictitious countries supporting military planning or playing political roles, strategic communications specialists, as well as civil society representatives covering protection of civilians, gender, sexual gender-based violence, and cultural property protection.
“The Grey Cell role players are selected for their knowledge of their subject matter expertise, understanding of NATO processes and how to deliver training effect and come from a wide variety of nations, as well as backgrounds as diverse as military, diplomacy, journalism and humanitarian actors,” he added.
After the conclusion of the exercise, Brigadier General Douglas K. Clark, JWC’s Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, addressed the EXCON staff in Stavanger, saying, “thank you for your excellence throughout this execution phase, which has held to the standards required of NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre.”
Referring to the JWC’s training audiences, Brigadier General Clark said: “The challenge of a Land Headquarters functioning as a Joint Headquarters is considerable, and you have delivered a high standard.”
He then commended the Joint Logistics Support Group, the Maritime and Air elements, as well as the Special Operations component and CBRN specialists for their efforts to “further enriching the execution phase”.
Brigadier General Clark also thanked the Air Command and French JFAC for continuing to exercise the new Air C2 concept within the context of a Joint Command. “As the French JFAC takes on the NRF22 alert role, I wish you the best of luck in this endeavour,” he said.
Overall, STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 contributed to the operational and tactical readiness of the training audiences and enhanced their collective capabilities to counter hybrid threats, focusing on NATO’s comprehensive approach.
Established in 2003 in Stavanger, Norway, the Joint Warfare Centre provides NATO's training focal point for full-spectrum joint operational- and strategic-level warfare.
STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 After Action Review at NRDC-ITA
Photos from STEADFAST JACKAL 2021
EXERCISE STEADFAST JACKAL 2021 AT A GLANCE
- What: Computer-assisted/command post exercise (CAX/CPX)
- Level: Operational and tactical
- When: From November 30 - December 9, 2021
- Who: Nearly 2,500 participants
- Location: Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, France, and Norway
- Objective: To train NATO Rapid Deployable Corps – Italy (NRDC-ITA) as a Joint Task Force Headquarters to command and control a Land-heavy non-Article 5 small joint operation (SJO), supported by Air and Special forces components. Additionally, STJA21 will train and evaluate the French Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) in preparation for their role within NATO Response Force 2022 (NRF22).
- Officer Scheduling the Exercise (OSE): General Tod D. Wolters, SACEUR
- Officer Conducting the Exercise (OCE): Admiral Robert P. Burke, Commander Joint Force Command Naples
- Officer Directing the Exercise (ODE): Major General Piotr Malinowski, Commander Joint Warfare Centre