The Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) was established on 23 October 2003 at Jatta, Stavanger, Norway, as an integral part of the new NATO Military Command Structure, which was launched at the 2002 Prague Summit, and subordinate to Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT.)
Norway has a proud NATO heritage, which dates back to 1951. The City of Stavanger has been hosting NATO since 1994. The JWC is the third headquarters to inhabit the site at Jatta, inheriting it from Joint Headquarters North (2000-2003), which replaced Headquarters North (1994-2000), both of which were officially inaugurated and deactivated as a result of NATO's military command restructuring.
Upon its establishment, the JWC was directly associated with two of the five NATO transformational processes described in NATO Military Committee document, MC 324/1, dated 16 May 2003, which were:
- Training and Education;
- Joint and Combined Concept Development, Experimentation, Assessment and Doctrine.
At the core of NATO's operational level training stands the JWC. The motto of the JWC, upon activitation, was "Transformation in Action". Our motto today is "Training NATO. Advancing Doctrine. Integrating Concepts". Both mottos refer to our mission: introducing a robust, highly realistic and demanding joint and combined training; innovative concepts, capabilities and curricula into the NATO Alliance to enable its overall military Transformation.
The JWC's first exercise took place just three months after the Centre's activation, from 1 to 6 February 2004 for 130 staff of 11 Nations assigned to AFSOUTH, which was designated as NATO's first Deployable Joint Task Force (DJTF) headquarters.
The first ISAF Mission Rehearsal Training at Ulsnes Interim Training Facility was conducted for the sixth rotation of ISAF, led by Headquarters EUROCORPS, on their way to deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan. It took place from 18 to 22 June 2004 and consisted of a Training Audience of 400 participants coming from 14 NATO and Partner Nations.
The JWC achieved its Full Operational Capability in June 2006.
As an important milestone, the JWC and Kingdom of Norway held a signing ceremony for the new Memorandum of Agreement on 21 June 2006, a document which is the basis for Host Nation Support and implementing arrangements crucial to the sustainability of the JWC and an excellent example that demonstrates the commitment of Norway to the Joint Warfare Centre.
The funds for JWC's new training facility in Jatta were authorized by NATO on 25 April 2006. Just like the JWC itself, the new training facility is a ground-breaking transformational concept for NATO, making the JWC stand out as one of the world's most state-of-the-art training centres with a capacity to train up to 600 personnel at once. Built on an area of 13,390 square metres, the five-storey building gives the Centre a state-of-the-art training, experimentation and conference facility.
In November 2009, the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organization, on behalf of NATO, signed a major acquisition contract valued at more than 100 million NOK with a local company to provide Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and support to the new facility.
The Foundation Stone for the new training facility was laid during a ceremony on 23 October 2008, exactly five years to the day the Centre was officially inaugurated in 2003.
The JWC celebrated its 15th anniversary during a formal ceremony on 23 October 2018.
By early 2005, the NATO Command Structure included three pillars of fundamental training: Joint Warfare Centre, Joint Force Training Centre and Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre. In April 2005, their Directors met to highlight priorities and challenges for achieving Full Operational Capability. At the time, the biggest challenge for the JWC was the manning deficit since it was manned at about 55% of its authorized Peacetime Establishment (PE).
A second strand for the JWC concerned its organizational structure. As its initial organizational structure was formed before its terms of reference, mission and tasks were approved, the JWC had to create an “amended organizational structure” to be able to perform its mission and deliver its primary outputs.
On 1 September 2005, an Amended Organizational Test Structure was implemented, providing the JWC with a new approach to conducting its missions and tasks. It was better task-organized, and thus could provide better leadership from the Divisions.
In these early times, the JWC already demonstrated its capacity as the interface between the requirements of NATO’s operational commands and the brave new world of change. At mid-2005, its Vision Statement was unveiled, charting a course for the future: A world-class training centre that drives NATO transformation forward through an innovative concept development, experimentation and doctrine development process.
Starting to Deliver on Training
NRF Early 2005, the NATO Response Force (NRF) was still a work in progress. After eight months of planning, the JWC hosted a NATO Exercise/Seminar, “Allied Reach 05”, which aimed to set strategic guidelines for the future of the NRF and highlight critical areas and recommendations on ways forward.
The spotlight was on NRF training at the JWC, which ensured NATO was able to meet its operational objectives for planning, mounting and conducting a joint, combined non-Article 5 crisis response operation based on the NRF concept.
The JWC’s first exercise took place just three months after its activation, from 1-6 February 2004 for 130 staff of 11 Nations assigned to AFSOUTH, which was designated as NATO’s first Deployable Joint Task Force (DJTF) headquarters. During this event, the Ulsnes Interim Training Facility was used for the first time. Initial setup and modernization of Ulsnes continued during the exercise and for several months after.
ISAF The first ISAF Mission Rehearsal Training at Ulsnes was conducted for the sixth rotation of ISAF, led by Headquarters Eurocorps. It took place 18-22 June 2004 in presence of a Training Audience of 400 from 14 NATO and Partner Nations.
NTIM-I The JWC played a major role in the pre-deployment training for NATO’s Training Implementation Mission in Iraq. In August 2004, under the leadership of Major General James Short, then Chief of Staff JWC, an ACT Training Team was formed, including 45 personnel drawn from ACT, ACO, JFC Brunssum, JFC Naples and the JWC. The team arrived in Baghdad with a mission to identify present and future training needs of Iraq’s Security Forces.
As a result, in-country training started on 18 August 2004. When NATO decided to step up its out-of-country training, the JWC was selected to host it. 19 senior Iraqi officers arrived in Norway on 1 November 2004 to participate in NATO’s first out-of-country training for Iraqi Security Forces.
Major General Short noted: “We are providing Iraqi key leaders with training that is extremely relevant to the challenges and opportunities they are facing in rebuilding their country’s security institutions. Our efforts here directly contribute to Iraq’s ability to strengthen internal security and prepare them for the future.”
A Key Tool of New NATO
By this time, JWC clearly was influencing NATO transformation. Its most potent demonstration of its impact was through its deliverables with exercises and training events going at full pace. Before the year came to an end, NATO approved the Capability Package for the construction of a state-of-the-art training facility to replace Ulsnes, thus recognizing that the JWC was worth the investment in people and infrastructure.
Coming of Age
In 2005, almost all major activities of Allied Command Operations evolved and developed around the certification process of the NATO Response Force. In the same year, the Joint Warfare Centre demonstrated its Initial Operating Capability by conducting major NATO Response Force certification exercises, developing the Lessons Learned process of the Bi-Strategic Commands (Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation), developing new Concepts and Doctrine, and implementing a robust Experimentation programme.
During this phase, the JWC’s key outputs were exercises like Allied Action 05 (NRF 5), Allied Warrior 05 (NRF 6), ISAF VIII Mission Rehearsal Training as well as Iraqi Key Leader Training courses, the first ever NATO Lessons Learned Conference and significant upgrades to the Centre’s communication and information systems.
Internal Shaping, External Sharing
Also, Standard Operating Procedures were developed to promote consistent implementation of recurring work processes within the JWC. In addition to providing the Exercise Control organization, and participating in planning activities for the NRF certification exercises, the JWC deployed a team to support a major live exercise, Noble Javelin 05 (NRF 4), which tested NATO’s expeditionary capability at high combat readiness.
As a reflection of NATO’s demands, the NATO Response Force was evolving both conceptually and in practice. NATO’s efforts clearly showed that the Response Force would play a decisive role in turning the tide against any emerging threat to the Alliance or its individual member nations in the 21st century. Training the NATO Response Force was the most important contribution to NATO’s transformation, with the JWC already on the forefront.
Full Operational Capability
Just three months before the NATO Response Force was declared fully operational at the Riga Summit, the Joint Warfare Centre achieved its Full Operational Capability in June 2006.
Memorandum of Agreement
The Kingdom of Norway and the JWC held a signing ceremony for the new Memorandum of Agreement on 21 June 2006. Up to that day, the JWC had operated under a SHAPE-governed Memorandum of Agreement. A legal document that officially closed Joint Headquarters North and created the Joint Warfare Centre, the new Memorandum of Agreement also provided the basis for Host Nation Support and implementing arrangements crucial to the sustainability of the JWC and an excellent example that demonstrates the commitment of Norway to the Centre.
ACT Seminar “Delivering Transformation”
The signing ceremony took place while the JWC was hosting an ACT strategic level seminar held on 20-22 June 2006 under the theme of “Delivering Transformation”,
The seminar brought together NATO’s top civilian and military echelons, including the then NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the ambassadors of the North Atlantic Council, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation as well as NATO’s other top military commanders and senior civilian leadership and representatives of the Norwegian Government.
The seminar provided a unique opportunity to evaluate NATO’s current operational environment. In addition to high level presentations and discussions, it
- - Included broader observations about the nature of modern military operations and force interoperability in an increasing network centric environment,
- - Included a walking tour of displays and technology demonstrations for the attendees,
- - Highlighted the collective approach to Defence Planning within NATO.
By September 2006, the JWC had boosted its manning to nearly 80% from the initial 55%. The number of NATO Nations present at the Centre increased from nine to twenty-four, plus two Partner Nations. Anchoring the sweeping changes was the construction of the new training facility in Jåttå. During this time, controlled dynamite explosions announced that the long-awaited construction process had finally begun.
On 23 October 2003, the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) was established in Jåttå, Stavanger, Norway. During the Activation Ceremony that afternoon, the then Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, U.S. Navy Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr., described the Centre as “the Jewel in the Crown of Allied Command Transformation”.
Over the years, the JWC has become an essential force for transformation throughout NATO and accumulated a history of unique achievements as the Alliance’s premier operational level training establishment.
During this ten-year period and until now, the JWC has trained more than 30,000 personnel for the full spectrum of joint operational warfare; either it prepared deploying units for their missions in Afghanistan or trained key staffs to serve within the NATO Response Force. The JWC’s operational-level collective training evolved and progressed constantly due to new threats, redefined missions and lessons learned.
In recent years, the JWC partnered with U.S. Joint and Coalition Warfighting to conduct highly complex, fourtier, multinational ISAF pre-deployment training events. It witnessed the immediate relevance of its training efforts in real-world operations when the training it provided in December 2010 significantly contributed to the success of NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR in Libya, which started in February 2011.
Ever adaptive, the JWC integrated new capacities into the exercises, delivered NATO’s new Skolkan scenario complete with cyber, space and missile defence challenges, and launched NATO’s first large-scale virtual network. The JWC also contributed to the development and adoption of NATO’s Comprehensive Operations Planning Directive, supported NATO’s Smart Defence and Connected Forces Initiative, led the way for many other concepts, such as Comprehensive Approach, and produced a wide variety of other reference documentation on modern warfare.
With its new training facility in Jåttå, operational since 2012, hosting NATO’s most advanced Information Technology platform and providing a training capacity of 650, the JWC today stands out as one of the world’s most state-of-the-art military training centres. Finally, last but not least, the JWC has forged close ties with Norway, culminating in the visit of His Majesty King Harald V on 14 May 2012, in which we all take extreme pride. This is one of the landmark dates in JWC history that will remain etched in everyone’s memory forever.
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JOINT WARFARE CENTRE DIRECTORS / COMMANDERS
Lieutenant General Thorstein Skiaker, Norwegian Army
(October 2003-September 2004)
Major General James Short OBE, British Army
(September 2004-February 2005)
Air Marshal Peter Walker CB CBE FRAeS, Royal Air Force
(February 2005-July 2007)
Lieutenant General Wolfgang Korte, German Army
(July 2007 – June 2011)
Major General Jean Fred Berger, French Army
(June 2011 – June 2013)
Lieutenant General Erhard Buehler, German Army
(June 2013 - September 2014)
Major General Reinhard Wolski, German Army
(September 2014 - July 2016)
Major General Andrzej Reudowicz, Polish Army
(July 2016 - July 2019)
Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack, German Navy
(July 2019 - Present)