An Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team (OLRT) under the command of Romanian Army Major General Tomita-Catalin Tomescu, the Deputy Commander of NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Turkey (NRDC-TUR), deployed to Stavanger from 8 to 15 January to conduct the operational-level Crisis Response Planning (CRP) phase for exercise TRIDENT JAGUAR 2016 (TRJR16).
Sponsored by Allied Command Transformation (ACT), the computer-driven Command Post Exercise (CPX) will certify NRDC-TUR as a land-heavy NATO Joint Task Force Headquarters (JTF HQ).
Based on the fictitious "Skolkan 2.0" training scenario created by the JWC, exercise TRJR16 will train and evaluate the ability of NRDC-TUR to command and control a land-heavy Small Joint Operation, which will put to test its ability to manage joint and combined forces during a highly complex NATO-led Non-Article 5 Crisis Response Operation (CRO).
"In preparation for this new task, NRDC-TUR is conducting the Operational Planning Process, or OPP, in two locations," Major General Tomescu said, adding: "As such, the Joint Operational Planning Group (JOPG) is located at NRDC-TUR HQ in Istanbul to execute the overall planning, while the OLRT is here, in Stavanger, simulating a deployment to the fictitious Skolkan nation of 'Arnland' to perform its tasks."
Major General Tomescu, Deputy Commander NRDC-TUR, (middle), during discussions with "Arland" authorities. Photograph by CPO Vincent Micheletti, FRA N.
Simply put, within the framework of Skolkan 2.0 training scenario, the mission of the TRJR16 OLRT was to perform reconnaissance and gather first-hand information/intelligence needed by the JOPG of the Task Force HQ about Arnland in order to support the decision-cycle of the JTF Commander (Commander NRDC-TUR) as well as to develop an effective response plan to engage the given crisis on the ground.
As JTF Commander's earliest element in-country, OLRT's work is critical to the success of the future mission there.
In reflection of that, the pre-deployment guidance of the Turkish Army Lieutenant General Erdal Ozturk, Commander NRDC-TUR, to his reconnaissance team was "You are my eyes and ears in Arnland."
10-days of intense training
Challenged to react to the scenario-driven events under the watchful eyes of JWC's OLRT Training Team and the Exercise Control (EXCON) organization, including the White Cell, the OLRT members worked diligently to accomplish their assignment: they monitored the crisis in Arnland at all levels (strategic, operational, tactical), they assessed the information/media environment created by the JWC's Media Team, and they also established liaison with the local authorities as well as the key stakeholders in-country such as the International Organizations/Non-governmental Organizations (IOs/NGOs).
"The members of the White/Grey Cell --- a strong team of Subject Matter Experts --- provided the OLRT with valuable information to support the CRP phase of TRJR16," said Royal Netherlands Navy Commander Theo Hamburger, JWC's Chief White Cell for the exercise, adding: "During this phase, the White/Grey Cell enabled a lot of civil/military interaction for effective implementation of NATO's Comprehensive Approach. They replicated the complex and comprehensive exercise environment in Arnland by role-playing the key personnel in both civilian and military structures, including the IOs and NGOs."
Individual media training offered by JWC's Media Team was another benefit the OLRT members took advantage of during the intense 10-day OLRT training in Stavanger.
According to Mr Pete DuBois, JWC's exercise planner and TV producer, the media training focused on the operational complexities of the political and civil environment of TRJR16.
Mr Dubois said: "The Exercise Media Simulation Section is responsible for creating and maintaining a realistic exercise news media and social media environment for TRIDENT JAGUAR 16. During this exercise phase, we mostly play a supporting role by creating news content based on scenario events or on the outcomes from the many interactions the Training Audience has with the role-players. In the execution phase, we will take a more active approach and directly interact with the Training Audience as media role-players."
He added: "We also offer individual media training to key leaders of the Training Audience. We introduce and reinforce some practical, proven interview techniques that can help an interviewee get their message to the journalist despite the questions. We provided this customized training to seven staff members from NRDC-TUR and will also offer the same opportunity to other senior staff just before the execution phase."
The OLRT training is now complete, the Concept of Operations (CONOPS), a prerequisite for an effective Operational Plan (OPLAN), has been developed and the Training Objectives were successfully met, but the work continues for both NRDC-TUR and the JWC, who also deployed Training Teams to NRDC-TUR in support of the CRP phase. "As the JWC Training Team, we are very impressed by progress of the Training Audience to date," said Norwegian Army Lieutenant Colonel Tom Robertson, JWC's Officer of Primary Responsibility (OPR) for TRJR16.
TRJR16 will be directed by German Army Major General Reinhard Wolski, Commander JWC.
NRDC-TUR OLRT with JWC Excon members. Photograph by CPO Vincent Micheletti, FRA N.
What is OLRT Training? (In-depth article about OLRT Training, JWC's The Three Swords Magazine, Issue No. 28)
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