STAVANGER, Norway – NATO Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) and the Norwegian Defence Estates Agency (NDEA) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 28, 2022, to celebrate the re-opening of the In-Rock Facility, following the completion of a two-year modernization project.
The ceremony was jointly hosted by Major General Piotr Malinowski, Commander JWC, and Mr Thorbjørn Thoresen, Director General of the NDEA.
It was presided over by the Norwegian State Secretary Mr Bent-Joacim Bentzen, who also delivered the keynote speech.
The modernization project of the In-Rock Facility, funded by NATO and carried out by NDEA, involves extensive upgrades of infrastructure and communications and information systems (CIS), which aim to enhance the JWC’s capability in delivering high-quality exercises to address defence and security needs of the Alliance.
Distinguished guests attending the ceremony included Ms Lone Merethe Solheim, Deputy County Governor of Rogaland; Colonel Morten Anderssen, representing the Norwegian Joint Headquarters; Colonel Waldemar Torbicki, the Polish Defence Attaché, local military commanders, as well as members of the media.
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the event moved on to the situation centre inside the facility. As the first speaker here, Mr Thoresen, the Director General of the NDEA, said that his team was proud to be a part of the modernization project, which started in October 2020.
“We are an administrative agency subordinate to the Ministry of Defence. Our primary tasks relate to the planning, construction, administration, leasing and sale of defence estates and properties,” Thoresen said, adding: “This can be a high-tech training facility for our special forces, a regular barracks where our soldiers live and sleep, office buildings where missions and daily operations are planned, bases for our fighting aircrafts and rescue helicopters, weapons, and training areas. Or it can be what we reopen today, a state of the art educational and training facility that you, our good friends, and allies, use to prepare for your mission: Defend freedom. Defend NATO. Defend Norway,” he said.
Major General Piotr Malinowski, who spoke next, underlined that the new facility would be an ideal setting for future command post exercises.
The Commander said: “NATO’s investment in this facility highlights the confidence in the Joint Warfare Centre’s important collective training mission to ensure sustained readiness of our forces in the face of all challenges. This project is also a true testament to the strong bonds of cooperation and partnership between the Kingdom of Norway and the NATO Alliance.”
Major General Malinowski underlined: “I see this modernized In-Rock Facility as an added value to our delivery of quality training, demonstrating our determination to make NATO better.”
Following the Commander’s remarks, Wing Commander John Rees, the JWC's Resources, Analysis and Planning Branch Head, briefed on the Centre’s mission as NATO’s footprint in the North.
The In-Rock Facility provides the JWC’s second combined joint operations centre and additional training space including multi-functional office spaces accommodating up to 600 people, meeting rooms, a real-life support office, and a CIS service desk to facilitate delivery of NATO’s most complex computer-assisted command post exercises (CAX/CPX) directed by the JWC.
NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency's CIS Support Unit in Stavanger played a major role in the CIS upgrades in the In-Rock Facility. In close conjunction with various of the Agency’s Business Areas, the CSU supported the NDEA in design, planning and implementation of cutting-edge CIS technology to provide the JWC a state-of-the-art training facility, which is in line with the Centre's current and future demands.
In his keynote speech, the Norwegian State Secretary Mr Bent-Joacim Bentzen said that the re-opening of the fully refurbished In-Rock Facility was a new milestone for the JWC. He thanked everyone who was involved in the project.
“Many projects funded through the NATO Security Investment Program have been implemented by Norway acting as Host Nation since the establishment of the Joint Warfare Centre in 2003,” the State Secretary said. “One major milestone was reached when the new facility for both permanent and training staff was opened in 2011. However, the training activity has increased over time, and a new major milestone is reached today when a fully refurbished in-rock facility is made available for NATO use.”
The State Secretary highlighted the cooperation between the JWC and Norwegian Armed Forces, saying: “we are deeply appreciative of your important work for planning and running big exercises. This is important for NATO, as well as for Norwegian fighting capabilities (…) Norway deeply values NATO’s presence in our country. We will continue to actively support this presence.”
The State Secretary then presented Major General Malinowski with a plaque in honour of this special day.
Photos from the Event
Mr Thorbjørn Thoresen, Director General of the NDEA; State Secretary Mr Bent-Joacim Bentzen; Ms Lone Merethe Solheim, Deputy County Governor of Rogaland, and Major General Piotr Malinowski, Commander JWC