Over the past twelve months, NATO's Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) and the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) J7 planners have been breaking new ground in the design and planning of an exceptional training event, which will allow the application of the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) in a manner unprecedented in scope and size for Canada and NATO, alike.

(As published in "The Three Swords Magazine", May 2015 Issue):

Since the spring of 2014, JWC and CJOC J7 planners have been working hand-in-hand to link and integrate JOINTEX to the NATO flagship exercise, TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2015 (TRJE 15).

JOINTEX is the Canadian Armed Forces' (CAF) bi-annual exercise created to ensure that the Canadian military maintains excellence in the modern battlespace. The CAF leadership recognized the significance and value of linking the exercises, as it would offer an outstanding training opportunity for CAF members in a very challenging and technically complex environment.

During the CPX, Canada, as an Alliance member, will demonstrate the CFI construct by participating from Meaford, Ontario, as one of Joint Force Command Brunssum's (JFC Brunssum) Component Commands. They will set their watches to European time, connected to JWC's Exercise Control (EXCON) in Stavanger, Norway, and JFC Brunssum Headquarters' Joint Task Force (JTF) in Zaragoza, Spain, while interacting with an EXCON located in Ottawa, Canada.

The contemporary security environment requires a joint response to common threats, and the CFI brings NATO Allies together to reach a common effect on the ground when required. The ultimate goal of exercises such as TRJE 15 is to validate the CFI as a valuable and impactful tool in the conduct of joint operations. As stated by Commander CJOC, Lieutenant General Jonathan Vance:

"Canada is participating enthusiastically in NATO training and bringing Canadian Armed Forces operational expertise to these critical exercises. Our efforts demonstrate not only reinforcement to the Alliance, but also resolve with the Alliance in providing an agile and robust response when and where required."

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The CPX portion of TRJE 15 will be directed by German Army Major General Reinhard Wolski, Commander JWC. He echoed Lieutenant General Vance in saying that the exercise will provide a first-class venue for training the NATO Response Force (NRF) together with partner nations and the larger civilian environment and will also demonstrate the Alliance's capabilities and readiness to provide Collective Defence and Crisis Response in a synthetic and distributed training environment.

"Together, we will train and advance our understanding of the traditional threats as well as those within the hybrid spectrum of warfare. TRJE 15 puts the NRF to the largest test ever and it will also allow for the development of a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) within the NRF and bolster its deterrence and warfighting capabilities," Major General Wolski added.

TRJE 15 is based on the SOROTAN (derived from the Norwegian word for "south", combined with "OTAN", the French translation of "NATO") setting and scenario; created from the ground up by a small team of uniformed officers, civilians and contractor experts from within the JWC, said Romanian Army Lieutenant Colonel Ciprian Murariu, the exercise Deputy OPR (Officer of Primary Responsibility).

In the early stages of design, SOROTAN needed to have the depth, flexibility, and most importantly, the strategic and operationally challenging dilemmas in order to become the preferred baseline choice for future scenario usage, noted Turkish Army Lieutenant Colonel Yavuz Karabulut, Chief Scenario, along with his lead developers, Dr Dusan Marincic and Mr Mark Blaydes.

"TRJE 15 exercise delivery and the quality/depth level of SOROTAN setting/scenario might set a new milestone for JWC and NATO," added Lieutenant Colonel Karabulut.

SOROTAN provides a setting that enables an out-of-area, non-Article 5 Crisis Response Operation, showcasing NATO's flexibility in the face of advanced threats and addressing many NATO training priorities simultaneously.

While the water conflict and the ensuing regional crisis are the focus of the scenario, SOROTAN also considers the complex interconnected information environment, with its both rewarding and challenging modern communication technologies, as part of its holistic training approach.

"TRJE 15 will demonstrate our strength as the NATO Alliance," said Major General Reinhard Wolski, adding: "As its primary CPX provider, JWC's aim is to prepare NATO for the security challenges, whether it being a cyber-attack, terrorism, a humanitarian mission or an attack on a member nation. And, we do this with our strong team at JWC, and also with our great training partners, such as the Canadian Joint Operations Command. I am looking forward to a very fulfilling and demanding exercise this fall."