French Air Force General Denis Mercier, the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), visited the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) on Wednesday 18 May 2017.
Following an office call with the Polish Army Major General Andrzej Reudowicz, Commander JWC, General Mercier met senior JWC leaders and received a series of briefings on topics ranging from the JWC’s new organizational structure to ongoing preparations for the upcoming exercises TRIDENT JAVELIN 2017 and TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018.
The development by the JWC of new training scenarios relevant to the complexities of the current and future operating environments was also discussed at the morning meeting.
During his visit, General Mercier spoke at an All Hands Call for the JWC staff where he highlighted a full capacity-based approach to Transformation, and discussed his overall priorities and vision, noting that the core task of Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is to “transform the military capacity of the Alliance” to ensure that NATO keeps its edge over any potential adversary.
“What we do is operate and adapt at the same time,” General Mercier said.
He underlined that NATO’s strategic environment marked a transition from a “complicated” to a “complex” world, a transition characterized by unpredictable challenges and incomprehensible outcomes, making the building of resilience a necessity.
“In this complex environment where surprise will be a factor to take into account, the threats and challenges are thus more diverse. It’s this complexity that needs to be integrated into our training events and exercises,” General Mercier added.
In a larger perspective, General Mercier said that NATO’s future capacity would be built upon the following six focus areas: “C4ISTAR” (Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target, Acquisition and Reconnaissance); logistics and sustainability; partnerships; capabilities (both “hard” and “soft” capabilities such as Strategic Communications, cyber defence, Anti-Access and Area Denial and nuclear); human capital (manpower) and collective training and exercises.
SACT concluded by saying that NATO’s postured forces (conventional, nuclear, and missile defence) require highly ambitious training in all kinds of environments, across a full mission spectrum.
“The JWC plays a very important role in ACT’s high state of readiness today. But, you also play a very important role in our future innovations, warfare and military adaptation. This is precisely why the JWC’s work is so important and contributes immensely to the core tasks of the Alliance,” General Mercier pointed out.
At the end of his speech, SACT presented U.S. Army Colonel Christopher Engen and U.S. Air Force MSgt Christopher Wynn with Certificates of Commendation, recognizing them for their outstanding work and dedication not only to the JWC, but also to NATO’s whole Transformation family.
In the afternoon, General Mercier talked to the Three Swords News Channel host Laura Loflin DuBois about issues such as the JWC’s mission to deliver training that is relevant and adaptable to emerging threats; the importance of thinking beyond conventional ideas and adopting innovation as well as the Centre's role in warfare and scenario development --- all, according to General Mercier, geared towards ACT’s own motto, which is “Improving Today, Shaping Tomorrow, Bridging the Two.”
Below is the exclusive interview with the SACT (please click on the picture)