Polish Army Brigadier General Andrzej Reudowicz assumed command of NATO's Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) today in a Change of Command Ceremony, replacing German Army Major General Reinhard Wolski who has served as the Centre's Commander since 24 September 2014.
UPDATE: Andrzej Reudowicz was promoted to the rank of Major General on 15 August 2016.
The ceremony was presided over by French Air Force General Denis Mercier, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), based at Norfolk, Virginia, United States.
Nearly 200 dignitaries from both sides of the Atlantic, including senior representation from German and Polish Governments, local dignitaries as well as the JWC's international staff and family members gathered at the Centre's Harald Hårfagre Auditorium to observe the afternoon ceremony.
"I want to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to the staff of the Joint Warfare Centre for your tremendous efforts to move the Alliance's Transformation forward," General Mercier said, adding: "these efforts are a vital component of this Centre's reputation and the respect for its professionalism expressed by many Allies and Partners."
SACT said that the recent Warsaw Summit was held "on the crossroads of transformation for NATO" and charted the course for the Alliance's adaptation to the new security environment. "The main theme of the Warsaw Summit was adaptation through the building of a renewed and robust defence and deterrence posture including the projection of stability across NATO’s borders," he said. On how to consolidate the Alliance's centre of gravity; its cohesion and unity, SACT noted: "A fundamental factor of our responsiveness will rely on the Alliance adopting the right posture, which is based on conventional, nuclear and missile defence forces that is credible at both the political and military levels."
General Denis Mercier, SACT
SACT said Alliance's posture expanded defence and deterrence to hybrid warfare, including responsiveness, relations with the EU and a wide range of partners, amongst others. "A robust exercise programme is a clear and visible demonstration of our ability to deliver appropriate strategic effects in different environments, but it is also a demonstration of force and credibility. This is precisely why JWC's work is so important and contributes immensely to the core tasks of the Alliance," General Mercier said.
SACT thanked Major General Wolski for his outstanding work and leadership, which helped pave the way to adapt the Alliance. He then turned to his successor, Brigadier General Reudowicz, with words of encouragement and commendation. "We are very fortunate to have a Commander with such an operational and forward-looking experience joining our Command Group," SACT said, adding: "I am very much looking forward to working with you, Andrzej, as a new member of the now famous 'Penta J' in this new and exciting professional endeavour."
SACT ended his speech with a quote from General Douglas MacArthur, whose memorial is located close to HQ SACT in Norfolk: "In no profession are the penalties for employing untrained personnel so irrevocable as in the military."
At the end of his speech, SACT presented Major General Wolski and JWC's former CAX Branch Head Dr Erdal Cayirci with Certificates of Commendation for their outstanding work.
Major General Wolski
Dr Erdal Cayirci
Major General Wolski bids farewell to JWC
In his farewell address, Major General Reinhard Wolski, who will return back to Germany to assume a high-level national assignment, noted that serving at JWC was a tour he would never forget. He said that the "joint operational level of command is possibly the most demanding level in operations today; tucked in between strategic guidance and tactical performance."
Major General Wolski added: "It is by purpose that the NATO Command and NATO Force Structure headquarters are placed all over Europe and the Atlantic. The aim is to provide assurance to the NATO Nations and deterrence against any aggressor. And it is by purpose that the JWC, with the outstanding support from HQ SACT, trains, educates and assists those headquarters and staffs to be able to fight and win campaigns and to win the peace. This is what the JWC is for --- to support and assist you, the commanders, to achieve NATO's Level of Ambition."
Brigadier General Reudowicz assumes command of JWC
In his first formal address to the JWC staff, Brigadier General Andrzej Reudowicz noted that he was looking forward to the opportunity of serving at the helm of NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre.
Referring to the immense legacy of the Centre within NATO, Brigadier General Reudowicz said: "When I assume command of a unit or organization where the working structure is very well organized, my biggest concern is on how to sustain the success, and even build on it. So, before coming here, my superior had only good things to say about JWC's excellent work. This makes me start to wonder how to build on the excellent work of this well-organized working institution while in charge."
Brigadier General Reudowicz underlined that during his military career there have been many international assignments where good cooperation with valued partners was the key; however, Reudowicz said "working in bilateral relations is different from working in an international environment."
"Shortly before Poland joined NATO, I was very much involved in drafting of NATO force goals and the first NATO exercise," Brigadier General Reudowicz said, adding: "Because of my deep involvement, I clearly remember the takeaways and lessons learned. Two of them, presented by a German General, I have always kept in the back of my mind were: 'All the problems can and should be solved by discussion' and 'there are no stupid questions, only lost opportunities to explain a problem.'"
Focusing on the latter of these two takeaways, Brigadier General Reudowicz said: "As military men, we are used to answer the questions starting with 5 Ws (Who, What, Where, When and Why), and my question will begin with 5 Ws as well, but these will be: Why, Why, Why, Why and Why. The answers should allow us to better understand the comprehensive and holistic approach to our military business. In other words, the instrument of power available to a county or our Alliance is not sufficient on its own, but only when it is combined with the knowledge of psychology, sociology, history and international relations."
Brigadier General Reudowicz receiving the JWC flag from SACT
Brigadier General Reudowicz
Brigadier General Reudowicz referred to a personal story to illustrate the importance of NATO’s continued adaptation to a changing world.
"While being deployed to Afghanistan, I had a very clever Chief of Tactical Operations Centre. He used to sign his mail with an expression taken directly from the Marine Corps' slogan 'Semper Fidelis' and tweaked it a little bit to 'Semper Flexi' which means 'Always Flexible'. Maybe we should make it our own 'watchword' to describe the character of our work."
At the end of his speech, commending Norway's outstanding support to the JWC, Brigadier General Reudowicz said: "I am delighted to learn about the invaluable Norwegian support to JWC and its personnel. I hope that our cooperation with local authorities, Chief of Police and Ministry of Defence representatives will continue and grow. And I promise that I will promote not only the JWC, but Norway as well."
Brigadier General Reudowicz assumed his role as Commander Joint Warfare Centre, effective immediately. After the completion of the ceremony, he hosted a small reception to mark the occasion where a cake cutting ceremony also took place.
Brigadier General Andrzej Reudowicz is the eighth Flag Officer to hold the prestigious position of Commander Joint Warfare Centre.
A native of Pisz, Poland, his awards and decorations include Order of Army Cross, Silver Cross of Merit, Gold Medal of Merit for National Defence, Meritorious Service Medal, Star of Iraq, Star of Afghanistan, NATO ISAF Medal from the NATO Secretary General, amongst others. Brigadier General Reudowicz is also a Mace Prize winner, which is the Polish award for innovation and creativity. Additionally, he was acknowledged in the “Book of Honour of the Polish Army” (2011) for his exceptional achievements in service, including training in peacetime. From September 2011, Brigadier General Reudowicz also became the Chancellor of the Order of Army Cross.
Brigadier General Reudowicz is married to Jolanta and they have two children. He enjoys history, philosophy and literature, and is a dedicated skier.
To view photos from the change of command ceremony, please visit the JWC Facebook page Change of Command Album here: https://www.facebook.com/NATO.JWC