Between 26 and 28 May, JWC hosted the Civil Environment Workshop for exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15 (TRJE 15) with the concept of Comprehensive Approach taking centre stage in the discussions.
The aim of the workshop was to bring together representatives from various UN-affiliated organizations and specialized civilian agencies and NATO’s exercise planners in order to achieve an even closer collaboration and understanding between the parties.
In his welcoming statement Major General Reinhard Wolski, Commander JWC, underlined NATO’s increased focus on more interaction with our partners, such as the EU and UN, through exercises and training events.
“The TRJE 15 scenario places special importance on taking a Comprehensive Approach to crisis management. Therefore, we depend heavily on your expertise to achieve the realism this exercise requires,” Major General Wolski said, adding: “We want to learn your perspective, interests and areas of focus for complementary planning. We also want to introduce you to NATO’s exercise programme as well as the Exercise Control and White Cell structures where strong civil/military interactions are widely replicated.”
Indeed, as TRJE 15 puts the NATO Response Force (NRF) to the largest test ever, it will also move NATO’s interaction with international organizations, non-governmental organizations and governmental organizations (IO/NGO/GO) to a new level.
The exercise is more holistic than any other in the past, registering the largest involvement ever of civilian organizations in a NATO Computer-Assisted Exercise (CPX).
TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15 CPX, SOROTAN and the Civil Environment: “It is all about partnership…”
In October 2015, Major General Wolski will direct the CPX-portion of the TRJE 15 exercise, which is to be based on the JWC-developed SOROTAN scenario.
SOROTAN aims to challenge JFC Brunssum, the Primary Training Audience, with restoring security in a very unstable region, dubbed as “Cerasia”, which is under severe pressure by growing political, military and civil turmoil.
From intense war fighting to hybrid threats and new tactics of war to protecting children, SOROTAN was designed and developed through the lens of a PMESII (Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information and Infrastructure) construct, involving substantial contributions from military, police and civilian personnel.
As conflict takes hold of East Cerasia, the holistic relationship between military and international partners gains paramount importance.
The scenario also sees a hostile information environment that is capable of turning the tide in the conflict, making strong Strategic Communications (StratCom) one of the top exercise training objectives.
“Exercise design is like painting a canvas --- it can be as simple or as sophisticated and complex as the Training Audience desires it to be. This non-Article 5 scenario reflects the realities of the world in which we live today. There are numerous competing interests, many actors operating across the Joint Area of Operations, and a variety of different outcomes sought by the rival nations, IOs and NGOs,” British Navy Commander Tristan Lovering MBE, JWC’s Chief Main Events List and Main Incidents List (MEL/MIL) for TRJE 15 said.
He added: “Our aim is to paint a picture that isn’t simply colouring by numbers; the conflict in SOROTAN isn’t about good versus evil, blue forces versus red, or victor and victim. It is about reflecting real world challenges; it is about presenting a problem which can have multiple solutions, and will require intimate collaboration and cooperation with numerous partners. TRJE15 will require communication, not only between the Joint Force Command HQ and their component HQ's, but with civilian government and NGOs. It is all about partnership, and our combined resolve to find a peaceful way out of the conflict.”
Mr Iain Dell, who planned and led the workshop, said that the range of talks, debates and presentations during the workshop was aimed at creating a “single, credible and cohesive civil environment” for TRJE15 that reflected reality in crises.
He said: “Getting so many organisations with such strongly differing views around one table was challenging and perhaps the epitome of ‘cat-herding’. However, this unique event represents a milestone in civil-military relations for NATO that may well result in positive changes on the ground during operations."
One of the key participants of the Civil Environment Workshop in Stavanger was Dutch Ambassador Maurits R. Jochems who served as NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan from 2012 to 2014.
When asked about his thoughts on the workshop, Ambassador Jochems said: “This civil environment workshop is absolutely useful because in any NATO operation there is not only the military dimension, but also the dimensions of governance and economic development. And in that field, NATO is not the lead agency. (…) On the contrary, you can never look at security and development dimensions in separation. You have to look at them together. So, in the lead up to this exercise, it is good that there is already contact with the civilian partners.”
The Ambassador added: “What we learned in practice is that the speed of development in security and governance is different. This is also something we have to practice in this exercise because if we want to cooperate successfully, we have to know how the others think. The workshop was also extremely useful in that it gave us a first good insight into the scenario.”
The Canadian link: JOINTEX 15
Another participant of the workshop was Mr Steve Fritz-Millet, representing the Canadian Army Simulation Centre, an organization with a similar role and mission as JWC.
One peculiarity of TRJE 15 is that it is linked and integrated with the Canadian bi-annual exercise JOINTEX.
“This workshop is especially helpful because it offers us the opportunity to meet with many of the agencies that will be represented in the scenario; it allows us to coordinate with them in order to deliver the exercise and establish relationships,” Mr Fritz-Millet said, adding: “The main difference between JOINTEX and TRIDENT JUNCTURE is that JOINTEX is focused at one level lower. Essentially, it is a Component Command-type exercise, but there is a very good alignment between the two activities, they just have a slightly different focus in terms of who they are exercising. And, it is quite clear to the Canadian organizers that they are working for JWC. One good example of where they are making an effort in helping JWC reach its goal is that their work schedule in Canada will be on European time, which means they will be working from two in the morning till two in the afternoon. And, so, they will definitely be jet-lagged, without being able to collect any air miles.”
The Civil Environment Workshop concluded with closing remarks from U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Roger Watkins, JWC’s Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, who thanked all the participants for their active participation and recommendations.
“The feedback from the team here has been truly extraordinary and positive. I hope it has been as informative for you all as it has been for our team,” Brigadier General Watkins said, adding: “Getting all of the key players in one room and having meaningful discussions and dialogue will enhance the output of the exercise. And, that is really what Major General Wolski’s vision was about when he decided to host this workshop in the first place. So, thank you very much.”
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