French Air Force General Denis Mercier, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), visited the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) on Monday 27 August 2018 to offer his final farewell before his tenure ends in September.
General Mercier thanked the Centre for its dedication to move NATO’s transformation and military adaptation forward.
“The JWC is extremely valuable, not just to Allied Command Transformation as the warfare development command, but to Allied Command Operations as the warfighting command,” General Mercier said. “The Centre is in the middle, between the two Strategic Commands. It contributes to the core tasks of the Alliance and plays a very important role in improving our responsiveness and military capacity.”
General Mercier underlined that NATO’s adaptation efforts aimed to ensure that the Alliance was well-postured for the future.
Recapping the 2016 NATO Warsaw Summit, General Mercier said: “At the historical Warsaw Summit, NATO made huge decisions, focusing on improving our responsiveness and the transformation of our military capacity so that we can cope with the new security challenges and accomplish the three core tasks of the Alliance: collective defence, cooperative security and crisis management. These tasks today are more integrated than ever before.”
Serving as Supreme Allied Commander Transformation for the past three years, General Mercier reflected on his time leading NATO’s Transformation and provided important insights into several significant milestones of his tenure, including the “Six Focus Areas”, which form the lens through which the transformation of NATO’s military posture is viewed. These are: Command and Control, Logistics and Sustainability, Partnerships, Training and Exercises, Capabilities and Human Capital.
These focus areas, General Mercier said, would continue to be the “main efforts of Allied Command Transformation and its subordinate commands” in supporting NATO’s adaptation and responsiveness. “The JWC is essential for reinforcing our responsiveness and interoperability through major exercises as well as paving the way when it comes to innovative thinking,” General Mercier said.
General Mercier then highlighted the various ongoing efforts related to the implementation of the NATO Command Structure Adaptation. Here, General Mercier praised the Centre’s efforts for creating an optimized organization back in 2015, and reshaping itself into an organization that is better fit for the ever-changing needs of the Alliance. "The JWC was the first in NATO to do this. You were ahead of everyone else. And, you were right,” General Mercier said.
General Mercier closed his remarks by saying that this year was the 15th anniversary celebration for both ACT and the JWC. “What we saw in Warsaw, regarding NATO’s adaptation efforts, and recently, at the Brussels Summit, is what we now have to integrate into our exercises. You are at the centre of our exercise programme to implement this adaptation in the long term of the Alliance. You have done amazing work so far improving NATO’s collective training and I am very confident you will continue to serve the needs of NATO in the future. So, continue with same innovative mindset and be ambitious,” General Mercier said.
At the end of General Mercier’s speech, Polish Army Major General Andrzej Reudowicz took to the stage and thanked General Mercier for his vision and impeccable leadership.
While at the JWC, General Mercier also recognized German Army Lieutenant Colonel Peter Mientus for his distinguished service to Allied Command Transformation and awarded him with NATO Meritorious Service Medal, on behalf of the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg.
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