STAVANGER, Norway – Two consecutive vignette workshops for NATO Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 2021 (STDE21) took place from March 8 to 26 at the Joint Warfare Centre’s (JWC) training facility in Stavanger, Norway.

Sponsored by SHAPE, STDE21 includes a two-level (operational/tactical) live exercise (LIVEX), and a command post exercise (CPX), scheduled this spring to demonstrate NATO’s commitment to collective defence, as well as the Alliance's continued adaptation to the complex and unpredictable security environment.

During the three-week training event, representatives from the Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) and the Standing Joint Logistics Support Group (SJLSG), both located in Ulm, Germany; a representative from the Dutch Territorial Operation Centre, and supporting agencies came together at the JWC to contribute to the development of the different vignettes, including the Opposing Forces (OPFOR) plans and storylines, in line with STDE21 CPX design and training objectives.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Mientus, JSEC Head of Strategic Communications, said: “I am convinced that we have developed sufficient and highly realistic operational dilemmas and challenges for the JSEC and the SJLSG during both workshops, due to the JWC’s excellent facilitation. The finalized exercise script will enable both headquarters in May to achieve their given training objectives and provide some excellent learning opportunities on the way to full operational capability in 2021.”

Mientus added: “The reinforcement and sustainment of forces in Europe from across the Atlantic is vital to NATO’s efforts on deterrence, defence, and dialogue. I am proud to be part of the endaveour to improve NATO’s readiness by establishing the new JSEC.”


STDE21 is the first in a new series of long-planned NATO-led exercises, involving several linked activities with the common purpose to ensure that NATO Forces are trained, interoperable, and ready to respond to any threat from any direction.

As a defensive exercise, STDE21 will train and evaluate a wide range of NATO Command and Force Structure headquarters, including Joint Force Command Norfolk (JFCNF), based in Norfolk, Virginia, United States, to bolster the transatlantic bond to Allied security.

Additionally, the exercise will provide Allied nations the opportunity to participate with forces at all-readiness levels and move them throughout Europe to strengthen the Alliance's deterrence and defence posture.

The CPX portion of the exercise will be directed by Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack, Commander JWC.

Based on the synthetic Article 5 / collective defence training scenario created by the JWC, the CPX will focus on the enablement and coordination of the simulated flow of NATO’s follow-on-forces into, throughout, and from the JSEC-assigned area, as well as their sustainment .

Through the JWC’s scenario, NATO will test its ability to conduct and support military response options that enable movement control, security coordination, force protection, as well as liaison between Allied forces, the nations, and other stakeholders.

Commander Oliver Vanek, JWC’s Officer of Primary Responsibility (OPR) for the exercise, said: “A lot of hard work has gone into this exercise so far, involving a number of separate key events and linked exercises on both sides of the Atlantic, with the clear purpose to enhance NATO’s defence capabilities. At the JWC, we successfully adapted the vignettes to the COVID-19 restrictions and supported the participants during the intensive training event.”

As NATO’s footprint in the Northern region, the JWC focuses on training NATO Command and Force Structure headquarters and contributing to their ability to conduct full-spectrum, joint operational-level warfare.