Stavanger, NORWAY – NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) celebrated its 20th anniversary during a formal ceremony on October 26, 2023, in Jåttå, Stavanger, Norway.

Numerous military and civilian dignitaries attended the event, including the Norwegian Ministry of Defence State Secretary, Ms Anne Marie Aanerud; the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Philippe Lavigne; and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Special Advisor, Lieutenant General Iulian Berdila.

Additionally, the JWC welcomed the Honourable Mayor of Stavanger, Ms Sissel Knutsen Hegdal, and the Deputy County Governor of Rogaland, Ms Lone Merethe Solheim, as well as Ambassadors to the Kingdom of Norway from Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom, and senior representatives and defence attaches from the embassies of Germany, Spain, Türkiye, and Sweden.

The anniversary celebration featured speeches, a tour of the facilities highlighting the capabilities of the JWC, the unveiling of a NATO signpost, and music by the Norwegian Naval Forces Band.

The JWC is NATO's footprint in the Northern European region, which includes Scandinavia, the North Sea and the Baltic.

The city of Stavanger serves as an exceptional host to the JWC’s workforce of 261 staff members, which comprises NATO International Civilians and military personnel from 17 NATO nations.

As NATO’s premier training establishment at the operational and strategic levels, the JWC has been at the forefront of shaping the way NATO trains for the future.

Over the past 20 years, the JWC has planned and delivered more than 100 exercises and training events to make NATO better and ensure that NATO’s commanders and their staffs are well-prepared and ready to respond to any mission, whenever and wherever the call may come. 

Recommended Reading: Nine Things to Know About the JWC



Major General Piotr Malinowski, Commander JWC, provided welcoming remarks highlighting the JWC’s crucial role in training NATO Command and Force Structure Headquarters and contributing to their ability to conduct full-spectrum, joint operational- and strategic-level warfare as NATO’s footprint in the North.

The Commander said: “The world has changed significantly over these 20 years, presenting us with new and ever-evolving challenges to be identified, analyzed, and then implemented into our work for the Alliance. From counterterrorism operations to humanitarian assistance, cybersecurity to peacekeeping efforts, deterrence to full-scale Article 5 operations – our organization has adapted and responded with agility and resolve, providing the best possible products for NATO. We have stood united in the face of adversity and new challenges, transcending borders, and differences to make the world a safer place.”

Major General Malinowski added: “As we celebrate this 20th anniversary, let it serve as a reminder of our shared commitment to peace, security, and humanitarian values. Let us reaffirm our dedication to upholding the NATO principles that have guided us thus far and pledge to work tirelessly toward a future where conflict is minimized, suffering is alleviated, and justice prevails.”

As General Philippe Lavigne took to the podium for his remarks, he said, “It is an honour to address this esteemed gathering and reflect on the incredible journey of this institution,” adding, “The JWC is a masterpiece that continuously bridges the gap between warfighting effectiveness and warfare development.”

Praising the JWC’s pivotal role in NATO’s transformation, which is “in direct support of SACEUR and Allied warfighters,” General Lavigne stressed: “I need JWC's skills and innovative thinking to help me adjust our current course for multi-domain operations, enabled by digital transformation. I also need the JWC's cutting-edge capabilities, including sophisticated modeling and simulation technologies, adaptive advisory teams, and groundbreaking wargaming initiatives, to strengthen our readiness across the full spectrum of missions, thereby reinforcing the Alliance's credible deterrence.”

General Lavigne then congratulated the JWC on the exceptional success of Exercise STEADFAST JUPITER 2023 – NATO’s largest and most complex command post exercise to date. The General said: “With nearly 20 months of meticulous planning and preparation, the JWC played a primary role in orchestrating this exercise, setting a new milestone in NATO's collective defence strategy.”



In his speech, Lieutenant General Iulian Berdila, SHAPE special advisor and former Chief of Staff of the Romanian Armed Forces, highlighted the JWC’s unique mission serving as a strategic enabler for both Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation, while contributing to NATO’s multi-domain defence, cross-domain command and layered resilience.



State Secretary, Ms Anne Marie Aanerud, presented the keynote speech at the event, focusing on the Norwegian perspective on the current global security climate and the pivotal role that NATO, and particularly, the JWC plays. She said: “I am honored to address you all on this special day, here at Jåttå, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Joint warfare Centre. Norway deeply values NATO’s presence in our country and we will continue to actively support this presence.”

The State Secretary then talked about the fundamental changes in the international security environment following Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine in February 2022. Faced with challenges of a bigger scope and complexity, characterized by the “competition between multiple great powers, complex alliances, advanced technology never seen before,” Anne Marie Aanerud emphasized the importance of readiness, Allied unity, and burden sharing.

She reflected Norway’s key priorities in the High North as an Arctic nation, saying that “Allied presence is an important element to ensure deterrence and interoperability in the High North.”

“The fact that Finland and Sweden decided to leave behind a long period of military non-alignment and apply for NATO membership is a testament to NATO’s value and demonstrates that NATO is the ‘gold standard’ of security guarantees in Europe,” the State Secretary underlined.

She added: “NATO remains the bedrock of Norwegian security, and Norway is fully committed to the mutual defence clause and security guarantees in NATO.”

Reflecting on the JWC’s role in NATO readiness, warfare development agenda, and innovation, Anne Marie Aanerud said: “The Joint Warfare Centre is at the forefront of setting the future exercise environment, providing complexity into the Alliance’s training and exercises, as well as making the Alliance Forces more ready and more interoperable.”

Addressing the JWC’s One Team, Anne Marie Aanerud said: “During the past 20 years, you have with your dedication, professionalism, innovation, and cooperation established a reputation of the Joint Warfare Centre for excellence. I am convinced that the Joint Warfare Centre will continue to play a key role in providing NATO forces with the strength, readiness, the ability and agility necessary. Against the very real challenges we are facing today and, in the years to come. Keep up the good work.”




The impressive assembly of dignitaries attending the JWC’s 20th anniversary celebration also included Lieutenant General Jaroslaw Gromadzinski, Commander Eurocorps; Major General Karol Dymanowski, Deputy Chief of Defence Poland; representing the NATO International Military Staff, Rear Admiral Marc Marie Jacques Gander; Major General Randolph Staudenraus, Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum; Major General Norbert Wagner, Commander Joint Force Training Centre; Commodore Fernando Artilheiro, Commander Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre; Colonel Jay Smith, Commandant of the NATO School Oberammergau; Mr Ludwig Decamps, General Manager of the NATO Communications and Information Agency; representing the Norwegian National Joint Headquarters, Brigadier General Anne Rydning; Mr Hans Vik, Chief of Police of Rogaland; Major General Derek C. France, Commander, Third Air Force, as well as as well as many representatives from NATO Command and Force Structure headquarters and the Norwegian Defence Estates Agency.


Photos from the Event