Warfare Development in Focus

The Opposing Forces in JWC-directed Exercises: The Realistic Challenge

opfor-01.jpgThe Opposing Forces (OPFOR) Branch at the Joint Warfare Centre has matured rapidly in the five years since its formation and is now an integral part of the combined effort to bring NATO exercises to life, simulating a credible, potent and challenging adversary to best enable the training audiences to meet their training needs.

When you type OPFOR into Google, some of the first search results are for example, “OPFOR makes the difference” and “a strong OPFOR makes a strong army”. These statements can be considered correct and are most likely based on experiences from the U.S. Army’s OPFOR units. Here at the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) we have our very own OPFOR unit, which is valued for the realism it adds to the Centre’s complex computer-assisted command post exercises (CAX/CPX).

Training the Next Generation of NATO Commands

next-gen-nato-commands-01.jpgOur mission is to provide transformational exercise support for NATO’s military headquarters, while ensuring Alliance combat readiness for joint operational- and strategic-level warfare through rotational force certifications.

The Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) provides resident subject matter experts (SMEs) for an Advisory Team to advise and assist each respective training audience participating in a supported exercise, regardless of whether the training audience is from the NATO Command Structure or NATO Force Structure. Though most SMEs are permanent staff members within the JWC, members of the Advisory Team can also come from anywhere within the NATO enterprise, such as a respective centre of excellence or component command.

The Joint Warfare Centre declares Full Operational Capability for wargame design


NATO Joint Warfare Centre’s (JWC) wargame design capability celebrated its Full Operational Capability (FOC) status on January 31, 2022 in a ceremony here, following an intense Initial Operational Capability (IOC) period.

“In August 2019, the JWC started the journey of creating a wargame design capability to offer a flexible and agile training and education tool to the Alliance,” said Major General Piotr Malinowski, Commander JWC.

“Declaring internal Full Operational Capability today does not mean that we will stop developing this capability. We are tightly integrated into the longer term effort to define and deliver a formal wargaming capability package to NATO through Supreme Allied Commander Transformation’s (SACT) Warfare Development Agenda.”

Interview: The Gender Perspective at the Operational Level


British Air Force Squadron Leader Diana Bird is a member of the Joint Warfare Centre's Training Advisory Team and has also been the Centre’s Gender Advisor since 2018.

In her latter role, she has witnessed the ongoing developments regarding the gender perspective in NATO Armed Forces, especially at the strategic and operational levels.

Her feedback: "If we neglect the gender perspective, we are essentially surrendering part of the battlefield to our adversaries."

By Inci Kucukaksoy and Sarah Denieul, Joint Warfare Centre

Warfare Development: Relevance, Risks and Making it Real


Given the current and future operational environment, Alliance leaders will have to apply sufficient resources and focused attention on warfare development to ensure NATO remains relevant and ready to successfully prevail against all potential adversaries and threats.

By Colonel Jean-Michel Millet, French Army, Head Transformation Delivery Division, Joint Warfare Centre

15 Years of Media Simulation Excellence


Napoleon Bonaparte has been quoted as saying: “Four hostile newspapers are to be more feared than a thousand bayonets.”

Although warfare has since evolved, the effect of news media continues to be a critical consideration for military commanders.

By Laura Loflin DuBois, Exercise Planner and TV Producer, Media Simulation Section Joint Warfare Centre

Learning From Our Past, Looking to the Future: Exercises, Training and Innovation

wd-in-focus-15.jpgWhilst the JWC delivers higher command and staff collective training for three- and four-star NATO headquarters, it can also harvest a huge dividend in warfare development and innovation.

Exercises may be the most conspicuous aspect of what we do, yet it is our role in joint and combined warfare development at the operational level that offers enduring benefit to the Alliance.

By Colonel Neil Wright, British Army, Deputy Chief of Staff Exercise, Training and Innovation Directorate, Joint Warfare Centre

In a World Without Doctrine, Chaos Reigns Supreme

wd-in-focus-23.jpgThroughout history, doctrine has provided an operational foundation for governments and organisations.

NATO is no different in this regard. Without well-conceived doctrine, no organisation can effectively achieve its objectives.

By Commander Shannon Wells, United States Navy, Staff Officer, Doctrine Support Branch, Joint Warfare Centre

Transformational Activities at the JWC

wd-in-focus-26.jpgNATO operates in an environment of continuous change, requiring the Alliance to rethink, reprioritise and reform in response to new risks and the evolving security landscape.

As NATO has adapted its strategy, concepts, and Military Command and Force Structures over the last 15 years, Headquarters Supreme Allied Command Transformation (HQ SACT) has been leading the Military Transformation process, within which the JWC and its Concepts, Capability Integration and Experimentation (CCI&E) Branch have been instrumental.

By Peter M. Hutson, Capability Integration and Experimentation Analyst, Joint Warfare Centre