NATO’s exercise planners, training providers and Education and Training (E&T) specialists met 15-18 September at the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) in Stavanger, Norway, in order to engage in extensive deliberations on how best to optimize NATO’s training requirements for current and future exercises scheduled for the next three to five calendar years.

This combined NATO Exercise Planning Meeting was the first of its kind, intended to bring together a number of key meetings previously conducted at separate venues and different times.

The purpose of the collocated meetings was to develop a common understanding of both NATO Education, Training, Exercises and Evaluation (ETEE) requirements, and the overall NATO exercise programme, in order to improve efficiency, effectiveness and affordability.

In the process, participants assessed means and capabilities, reviewed gaps and considered ways to mitigate risks.

Underlining the important role that the exercise community plays in maintaining NATO’s readiness and effectiveness, German Army Major General Reinhard Wolski, Commander JWC, said: “We are honored to host such prominent experts who are able to put into action the political and strategic guidance from NATO Nations for training and exercises. From Wales to Warsaw, NATO’s responsiveness and readiness can be observed to increase by the day, and it is the exercise, training and evaluation scheme which is one of the main drivers for this.”

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In attendance were representatives from the NATO Command Structure and NATO Force Structure HQs, members of NATO’s Military Training and Exercise Programme (MTEP) Planning Board, the Evaluation Programming and Management Board (EPMB), NATO’s Exercise Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Support Group and the Exercises Budget User Group (EBUG).

Representatives from two Partner Nations, Sweden and Finland, also attended the initial scoping meeting for the 2018 High-Visibility Exercise, TRIDENT JUNCTURE 18 (TRJE 18).

The first two days mainly focused on the MTEP Planning Board, EPMB and CIS Support meetings led by ACT Training and Exercise Branch, SHAPE J7 and SHAPE J6, respectively.

In addition to the MTEP update, evaluation priorities and CIS support to exercises, discussions also focused on a detailed overview of exercises for 2015 and beyond in order to be able to respond to the needs of the Alliance.

Delegates were also able to review and try out the new Electronic MTEP software being supplied to ACT by commercial provider C4 Strategies. The EBUG and TRJE 18 meetings then built upon the outputs of the previous two days, with many of the participants of the earlier meetings contributing directly to the final two days of discussions.

The Penta-J Meeting

On 18 September, the JWC hosted NATO’s second Penta-J (1) meeting under the leadership of Spanish Navy Vice Admiral Javier Gonzalez-Huix, HQ SACT’s Joint Force Trainer, to coordinate future activities, synchronize efforts and explore new training challenges and opportunities for the JWC, the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) and the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC).

Being at the forefront of NATO’s training efforts at all levels, the aim for each J-Command is to provide the highest quality training and analysis to NATO in order to enhance and sustain its forces’ military preparedness and interoperability.

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Mr Stuart B. Furness OBE, ACT Joint Force Trainer (JFT) Programme Manager, said: “Building on the discussions in and between the numerous meetings during the week, the Penta-J provided an ideal opportunity to align priorities, consider new aspects and update the training community on developing NATO requirements. Without this synchronisation, we would not be able to react quickly to the many and diverse changes envisioned.”

Topics discussed at the Penta-J included internal structures, current responsibilities, resources and respective Programmes of Work, as well as recommendations on how to maximize training capacities set against the present financial climate.

The focus of the Penta-J is on ensuring a coherent, collaborative and efficient approach from the training providers and the SHAPE evaluators, to best support the Training Audiences that participate in the exercises.

“The desired end state is to accomplish NATO’s agreed missions and level of ambition” Major General Wolski said, adding: “I am convinced that with alignment, optimization and positive interaction we can pave the way for NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) and increased joint capabilities in NATO Command and Force Structure HQs. As NATO’s training providers, we maximize efficiency to achieve the best operational effect by creating even better synergies with limited resources. Our work during these meetings is the key to achieving this.”

Overall, with approximately 150 participants, the collocated planning meetings in Stavanger succeeded in charting the course for the provision of an updated MTEP in direct support of SACEUR’s (2) Annual Guidance on ETEE (SAGE), another step on the road to the Warsaw Summit, which will take place on 8-9 July next year.

JWC bids farewell to SACT

French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros bid farewell to NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre on Thursday, 17 September 2015, approaching the end of his tour as Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) after a term of three years.

Addressing the JWC staff at the All Hands Call, General Paloméros said: “Education and training framework is what really instills the momentum in the Transformation of the NATO Alliance. Joint Warfare Centre, with its impressive facilities and professional staff, is the engine for Transformation throughout NATO. We must ‘deliver’ Transformation because this is not just an intellectual concept. Transformation is about people improving NATO’s capabilities and effectiveness; it is about shaping the future of the military force, it is about preparedness. Your organization is the centre of operational art within the Alliance and I have full confidence that your outstanding achievements and experience will guide you successfully to the future. I am also very confident because of the outstanding support of Norway, our great Ally, to NATO and the Joint Warfare Centre.”

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  1. The Penta-J group comprises HQ SACT DCOS JFT, the respective Commanders of the JWC, JFTC and JALLC, and ACOS SHAPE J7. It is an expansion of the former JJJ (JFTC, JWC, JALLC) meetings, aimed at improving coordination between the key organizations supporting NATO training and military preparedness.
  2. Supreme Allied Commander Europe.