The Early Period
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.