STAVANGER, Norway – German Navy Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack assumed command of NATO's Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) from Polish Army Major General Andrzej Reudowicz in a Change of Command Ceremony held at the Centre’s Harald Haarfagre Auditorium on July 10, 2019.
French Air Force General André Lanata, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), presided over the JWC’s Change of Command ceremony.
Senior military and civil service officers from across NATO and Host Nation Norway, distinguished guests from Germany and Poland, the Centre's international staff and their families as well as many dignitaries from Stavanger attended the ceremony.
“Today we say goodbye to one of the finest Generals I have had the privilege to work with, Major General Andrzej Reudowicz. At the same time, we say welcome to a new JWC Commander, Rear Admiral Jan Christian Kaack,” said General Lanata.
General Lanata noted that the JWC would continue to progress forward under Rear Admiral Kaack's leadership. “I have no doubt that your extensive experience in operational and support units and your rich educational background will be excellent assets to succeed Major General Reudowicz,” General Lanata said. “Rear Admiral Kaack, I welcome you to NATO, and to ACT.”
General Lanata expressed his gratitude to the Norwegian national and local authorities for their outstanding support and strong commitment to the JWC and Allied Command Transformation (ACT). He then spoke about the Centre’s crucial mission and standard of excellence within NATO.
“'Train as you Fight' is not a slogan; it is a vital part of Warfare Development. JWC’s role is vital in the delivery of increasingly complex exercises, especially with the change of direction to Article 5,” General Lanata said, adding: “I thank you for supporting my priorities, particularly innovation, by using exercises as vehicles for experimentation. I particularly appreciate the fact that your Centre has been proactive in assisting the creation of a Warfare Development Agenda. In ACT, we will continue to harness the expertise gathered here, in the Joint Warfare Centre.”
Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack holds the JWC Flag during the Change of Command Ceremony, July 10, 2019, in Stavanger, Norway
Rear Admiral Kaack, Joint Warfare Centre's ninth Commander, July 10, 2019
First Navy Commander
The ninth Commander of the Joint Warfare Centre, Rear Admiral Kaack, comes to the Centre after serving as Head of the Operations Department at the German Joint Support Services Command in Bonn, where he focused on a variety of topics related to host nation support and operational readiness, which required transformation of the command into a more agile organization.
With Rear Admiral Kaack, the JWC is assigned a Navy Commander for the first time, a position previously held by seven Army Flag Officers and one Air Force Flag Officer.
During his career, Rear Admiral Kaack served afloat on fast patrol boats with guided missiles, a helicopter carrier, destroyers and frigates including FS JEANNE D’ARC (1991–1992), FGS WOLF and FGS PANTHER (1992-1994), FGS ROMMEL (1995–1997), FGS MOELDERS (1999–2001) and FGS BAYERN (2003-2004).
Rear Admiral Kaack’s assignments include Flag Captain and Deputy Commander to Commander Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean during OPERATION ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR; J5 Staff Officer at Allied Forces Northern Europe (former AFNORTH) in Brunssum, the Netherlands; Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of German Naval Flotilla 1 at Kiel; Branch Head within the Strategy and Operations Directorate of the German Ministry of Defence, being regionally responsible for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas and the Arctic, as well as Director NATO Center of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters.
In his first address as the JWC Commander, Rear Admiral Kaack expressed his desire to lead the organization.
“When I was first confronted with the idea of joining the competition for Major General Reudowicz’s successor as Commander of this prestigious organization, I did not think twice or even hesitate, as this appointment seemed to me like a logical conclusion of a well-planned build-up that brings me back to a part of my life that had always fascinated me,” Kaack said, referring to his previous assignments and studies focusing on the operational art.
“Thank you, Andrzej, for handing over a very intact, a very capable, a well-connected and, most importantly, a highly motivated organization,” he added.
Rear Admiral Kaack stressed that a key defining factor of NATO’s credibility was its operational output as the Alliance continues to celebrate its 70th anniversary throughout 2019. “The operational level headquarters in NATO, as our prime customers, are entitled to receive only the very best training we can possibly provide. Because NATO’s operational environment is changing constantly, so must we, in order to adapt our training to address future challenges,” he said. “We are here to make NATO better!”
About 100 guests, including the incoming and outgoing Commanders’ family members; General Erhard Buehler, Commander Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum; Lieutenant General Rune Jakobsen, Commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters; Mr Hans Vik, Rogaland’s Chief of Police along with Vice Admiral Andreas Krause, Chief of the German Navy, and Lieutenant General Rajmund T. Andrzejczak, Polish Chief of Defence observed the ceremony in Stavanger.
Subordinate to Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT), the JWC is the premier collective training establishment of the NATO Alliance at the operational level. It is a full-spectrum and cross-functional training and warfare centre in the North, committed to ensuring the operational readiness of NATO staffs and their commanders.
The Centre plans and delivers static/distributed joint operational-level training, while, at the same time, actively supporting concept and doctrine development, the lessons learned process and integration of experimentation into exercises to strengthen NATO’s interoperability, capabilities and operational effectiveness.
In his role as Officer Directing the Exercise (ODE) throughout his three-year service at the JWC, Major General Reudowicz led the delivery of training for more than 6,000 personnel (the execution phase only), including the command post exercise portion of TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 – NATO’s largest exercise since the end of the Cold War. Major General Reudowicz will return back to Poland to assume a high-level national assignment.
In his last formal address to the JWC staff, Major General Reudowicz said how much he would miss the JWC and its “One Team” community as this truly was “the best assignment" in his military career.
The Military Band of Polish Armed Forces led by Captain Kristian Siwek supported the ceremony with a great selection of classical music and performed the Norwegian National Anthem to conclude the event.
Rear Admiral Kaack, the Joint Warfare Centre’s new Commander, is a graduate of the German Armed Forces University (MBA), the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College (both in Hamburg) and the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island (Class of 2007).
His awards and decorations include the German Cross of Honour in gold and silver, the French “Medaille de la Défense National” in bronze as well as two Certificates of Commendation by Commander in Chief AFNORTH (2003), and the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee (2016).
A TV Vest reporter interviewing both incoming and outgoing Commanders in front of JWC's training facility, July 10, 2019
Biography of Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack
PHOTOS FROM THE CEREMONY
(Photos by Tommy Ellingsen, Sergeant First Class Gerald Rael, and Inci Kucukaksoy)
Mr Hans Vik, Rogaland’s Chief of Police, on arrival to the JWC, July 10, 2019
Lieutenant General Rune Jakobsen, Commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, and General Erhard Buehler, Commander Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, July 10, 2019
Senior military and civil service officers from across NATO and Host Nation Norway, distinguished guests from Germany and Poland, the Centre's international staff and their families as well as many dignitaries from Stavanger attended the ceremony in Stavanger, Norway, July 10, 2019
General André Lanata, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), July 10, 2019
The Military Band of Polish Armed Forces led by Captain Kristian Siwek supported the handover ceremony with a great selection of classical music, July 10, 2019
Lieutenant General Rajmund T. Andrzejczak, Polish Chief of Defence and Dr Gesche Kaack, July 10, 2019