QX0A0196ffao17NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) hosted the SACT Fall 2017 Framework for Future Alliance Operations (FFAO) Workshop from 3 to 5 October 2017 in Stavanger, Norway.  

Over 90 participants from Allied and partner countries gathered at the JWC for a three-day workshop designed to support development of the FFAO 2018, the upcoming iteration of the FFAO programme, which addresses the complexity of today’s security environment and NATO’s military transformation over the long term.

According to CDR Shannon Wells, JWC’s lead planner for the workshop, the event was a unique opportunity to share best practices and examine strategies regarding countering emerging threats and building a common understanding of the future operating environment through 2035 and beyond.

“The Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) is currently leading the development of the FFAO 2018 to provide the combined Strategic Commanders' best military advice,” CDR Wells said, adding: “The FFAO informs the transformation of NATO's military forces, and in conjunction with the Strategic Foresight Analysis, provides input to the NATO Defence Planning Process. FFAO is intended to inform National defence planning; strategic discussions and white papers; NATO defence planning; capability development; concept development; and doctrine, training, exercises, leadership, and education.”  

The FFAO workshop in Stavanger comprised several presentations by subject matter experts across a broad range of disciplines, including a presentation from the NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO), as well as detailed syndicate discussions built upon a variety of “scenarios” such as implications of increasing urbanization and future challenges in cyberspace.

CDR Wells noted that the FFAO was updated on a four-year cycle, in concert with the NATO Defence Planning Process, to provide an informed perspective of the challenges and opportunities facing the Alliance forces in the decades to come.

The NATO Defence Planning Process evolves continuously “to identify the required capabilities” (1) and “to promote their timely and coherent development and acquisition by the Allies”. (2) The key aim of the defence planning process is to ensure that NATO meets its overall security and Collective Defence goals and objectives.

CDR Wells pointed to NATO’s increased focus on readiness, innovation and adaptability.

“The FFAO supports SACT’s Long-Term Military Transformation efforts and places this long-term future into an Alliance-specific context to present both Allied Command Operations’ and Allied Command Transformation’s proposals on how the Alliance might transform over the next 15 years. As NATO’s premier operational level warfare facility, the Joint Warfare Centre provided a welcoming and experienced venue to host this important event,” CDR Wells added.

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Rear Admiral Brad Skillman, Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff Joint Warfare Centre, welcomed participants and thanked them for travelling to Stavanger to participate in the 2017 FFAO Workshop. Photo by JWC PAO

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