STAVANGER, Norway – The Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) and over 200 external participants from 21 countries representing 18 different training audiences, including partner nations and government organizations, concluded the scripting workshop for NATO Exercise STEADFAST JUPITER 2021 (STJU21) on July 16, 2021.
Scheduled to be conducted this fall, STJU21 is NATO’s largest computer-assisted command post exercise (CAX/CPX) this year, and the first to focus on the challenges of deterrence.
Directed by the JWC, the all-level (strategic, operational, and tactical) exercise is designed to train and evaluate the NATO Response Force 22 (NRF22) under the lead of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum.
As part of the content development process, the aim of the 12-day Main Events List/Main Incidents List (MEL/MIL) Scripting Workshop was to produce a realistic, complex and challenging script for the exercise, in accordance with the fictitious training scenario developed by the JWC.
The workshop was the first fully in-person JWC exercise planning event in Stavanger in 2021.
In his opening remarks on July 5, Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack, Commander JWC, said: “Over the past 18 months, we have been through an extremely testing time. We have learned some valuable lessons, not only about how we might do things better and more efficiently, but also about how important some of our established processes are to the development and delivery of a full-scale CPX.”
Reflecting on the importance of STEADFAST JUPITER 2021, the Commander added:
“Moving from a combat-oriented execution phase to a deterrence focus requires a different approach, which is more subtle and nuanced. Complex military planning challenges should be routine business for a joint force headquarters, however, addressing the unique military and political challenges of deterrence is not. This is because deterrence is perhaps the most critical phase of a developing conflict.”
A workshop of many “firsts”
The JWC’s Programme Director 1, Colonel Adam Lackey, explained that the workshop was the first time the JWC had developed content for a primarily deterrence focused CAX/CPX, covering a wide range of training objectives.
“It is the first time we have developed a distinct event to house strategic-political focused storylines,” Lackey said, adding: “It is also the first time we have had such a collaborative scripting process with the training audiences, due to the deterrence nature of STEADFAST JUPITER 2021.”
Lackey said: “As Programme Director, I am in awe of what this team has accomplished. In short order, the team synchronized over 1,000 exercise injects across five events, while ensuring over 486 tasks are performed to meet our training audiences’ objectives for the exercise. I believe getting deterrence right is as important as winning on a battlefield.”
The Chief Content, Lieutenant Colonel Dominik Schmitz, added: “Despite a non-standard approach to the development of this exercise, I am delighted with what we have achieved over the past 12 days, and I firmly believe we are exactly where we want to be at this stage. Whatever happens over the coming months I am confident we are in a good position to deliver a realistic exercise and to challenge the training audiences in this crucial stage of a potential conflict.”
Deputy Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, Lieutenant General Stuart Skeates, visited the JWC from July 12 to 16, to observe the scripting workshop. In addition to the ongoing STJU21 planning activities, Lieutenant General Skeates received briefings from the JWC staff on JWC’s wargaming design capability and the 2021 JWC Future Exercise Support Capability Study.