Canadian Army Lieutenant General Christian Juneau, Deputy Commander of Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples, was at the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) in Stavanger, Norway, from 24 October to 7 November acting as the Exercise Director for the Live Exercise (LIVEX) portion of NATO's TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018.
He shared his LIVEX experience and expectations of the Command Post Exercise (CPX) in an interview conducted on 7 November 2018.
Q: Lieutenant General Juneau, thank you very much for giving us the time for this interview. Can you explain your role in the exercise?
“As you know, there are two portions of TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018; the LIVEX portion, and the CPX portion. For the LIVEX portion, I was the Exercise Director. So, basically, between Admiral James Foggo and myself, we split responsibilities. He was looking after the key leader engagement; engaging with the media and spending some time at the sea, providing oversight and monitoring, and what he asked me to do is to deliver the exercise that would meet the Training Objectives and to ensure that the exercise is delivered in a safe and efficient manner. This was for the LIVEX portion. For the CPX portion, I will assume my duties of Deputy Commander of JFC Naples; but on top of that, I will be what they call the “Trusted Agent” for the JWC in Stavanger, who is preparing the exercise for us. So, I will be providing the interface between the JWC and the Training Audience from our headquarters in Naples.”
Q: JWC-directed CPX will simulate NATO’s collective response to an Article 5 Major Joint Operation scenario. In your view what are some of the biggest benefits of the exercise?
“The CPX will create an environment that will be extremely challenging for the Training Audiences; they will be presented with operational-level dilemmas that, short of a real operation, would help us be prepared to deliver what we are supposed to deliver. The task of a joint force headquarters like JFC Naples is to deliver the military objectives in accordance with the political desires that are expressed by NATO through the North Atlantic Committee (NAC), but we have to think about these objectives and go all the way down to the effects on the ground, such as collateral damage. We are operating in that very complex spectrum. What the CPX will allow us to do is to try to synchronize the effects of all the component commands, being from the Land domain, the Maritime domain, or the Air domain as well as the Special Forces, but also other non-NATO organizations, civilians, non-governmental organizations and international organizations that might operate in a joint operational area. The CPX, therefore, will present us with very significant challenges to ensure that we are ready to take on the task of being the NATO Response Force (NRF) for 2019.”
Q: What do you consider to be the main challenges of today? What does that mean in terms of large-scale exercises such as TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018?
“There are many challenges if you look at the current global security environment. You have everything from violent extremist organizations to rogue states to regional conflicts, but what we are going to be presented with during the CPX is probably the most challenging mission, which is facing a near peer enemy that is using hybrid warfare. I think that would be quite a challenge for us, but it is what we are supposed to do; that is our bread and butter. So, I know we are going to be challenged, we are going to push the envelope on what we can do, but we are going to try to go through the processes and act as a headquarters that can synchronize the joint effects in the joint operational area. I hope that we are going to be certified at the end of the Command Post Exercise and become the NRF for 2019.”
Q: What is your message to the CPX Training Audiences?
“So, the first one is Prepare. We have received the exercise documentation that has been produced by the JWC, thereafter review the work that we have done during the Battle Staff Training and ensure that we are as ready as possible on the 14th of November, the Day 1 of the exercise. The second message is Contribute. It is a big team and everybody has a role to play, every participant has to engage and ensure that they are doing the best they can do for themselves; for the team; for the Joint headquarters, and for the NATO Alliance. And the third message is Learn. Learn as much as possible, as an individual and as an organization as well. This is a tremendous opportunity for JFC Naples and all its members to ensure we are able to do the task and assume the task of NRF in 2019.”
Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 is NATO’s largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War. Held in Norway, the live portion of the exercise started on 25 October and ended on 7 November. The Command Post Exercise portion continues at various locations across Europe, in Italy (Naples and Taranto), Norway (Stavanger, Jørstadmoen, Bodø, Oslo), Belgium (Mons), Germany (Ramstein), and at sea, on board ITS ETNA, an Italian Navy flagship.
Lieutenant General Christian Juneau (left) and Admiral James G. Foggo III, Commander Allied Joint Force Command Naples, at Joint Warfare Centre, 7 November 2018