The visit focused on the progress and future implementation of capability package CP 9B0401, NATO's common funding source for JWC, in order to meet Alliance military requirements beyond 2014.
NATO's Investment Committee, which manages the NATO Security and Investment Programme (NSIP), visited the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) on Thursday, 19 June.
The group's visit to Norway was hosted by Mr Oystein Bo, Norwegian Secretary of State for Defence.
The NSIP finances the provision of installations and facilities needed to support the roles of the two strategic commands (Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation) that are recognised as exceeding the national defence requirements of individual member nations(1).
The Chairperson of the Investment Committee, Dr Erika Antal, was welcomed by German Army Major General Erhard Buehler, Commander JWC, and U.S. Air Force Brigadier General John W. Doucette, the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff. Distinguished visitors also included Mr Erling Hannevig Wang, Assistant Secretary General; Mr John Andreas Olsen, Director and Head of Security Policy Analysis Section and Mr Eli Myrkaskog, Senior Advisor, representing the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence as well as Mr Frode Kampenes, the senior engineer from the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation.
JWC conforming to modern requirements
In his welcome address, Major General Buehler thanked Norway for its "phenomenal" support to the JWC and its staff over the years.
He noted the close relationship between the JWC and Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence as well as the Norwegian National HQ in Bodo and pointed out mutual topics of interest such as concept development/integration into training events and exercises.
Major General Buehler then highlighted JWC's standing priorities, which together aim to improve NATO's war-fighting capabilities and assist transformation.
These include training NATO forces for ongoing operations and preparing for worldwide contingency operations, employing a holistic lessons learned process and supporting concept and doctrine development.
Currently, the Centre re-focuses on warfare capabilities, such as doctrine and concept development, employs a very challenging training and exercise programme, including conducting up to six major exercises per year, with a planning phase which spans 15 months. To do all this, Major General Buehler noted, the JWC decided to optimize its organizational structure.
"We have to maintain our sustained growth and make investments for future relevance," he said, adding: "It is very affordable to train in Stavanger using services and facilities offered by Norway such as Camp Madla for accommodation, the per diem then is 35 Euro. What you get in return is a highly sophisticated, world-class training centre, which has the capability to train two HQs in two Combined Joint Operations Centres (CJOCs) simultaneously with a Training Audience of more than 1,000 people."
CP 9B0401, which outlined the infrastructure and CIS projects, dates back to 2004.
Bundled in the capability package was the new training facility project, which was completed and delivered in 2012, cementing JWC's position as one of the world's most state-of-the-art military training venues, using advanced virtualisation and simulation technologies.
However, despite its success so far, it is acknowledged that key improvements to CP 9B0401 will better align JWC with NATO's new operational and exercise requirements as its premier operational-level training provider for full spectrum, multi-level exercises.
Major General Buehler's address was followed by a briefing on training and CIS deliveries by British Army Lieutenant Colonel Richard Lapslie, who focused on JWC's growth since 2004, future exercises and how they will affect the Centre. He also briefed on JWC's capability management challenges and provided an up-close look at its virtualisation capabilities.
Following the briefings, the Investment Committee took a tour of the facilities and visited the EXCON organisation, the CJOC and the TV Studio.
Representatives from Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence also delivered a comprehensive overview of the project to deliver the building and CIS equipment to make JWC what it is today. Mr Frode Kampenes (Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation) and Ann-Cathrin Urdal (Norwegian Defence Estates Agency) were then presented gifts from the Investment Committee, recognizing the great effort from the Ministry of Defence and their continuing support to NATO.
(1) Source: www.nato.int