French Air Force General Stephane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) made his first official visit to the Joint Warfare Centre on 8 December 2009 to familiarize himself with the work of the Centre and gain insight into how the Centre supports transformation of NATO's military capabilities.
General Stephane Abrial assumed command of Allied Command Transformation (ACT) on 9 September 2009 from U.S. Marine Corps General James N. Mattis, then dual hatted as both SACT and Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command. Today, General Mattis continues to serve as Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command. The Generals paid a visit to the Joint Warfare Centre together on 8 December 2009 and were greeted by Lieutenant General Wolfgang Korte, German Army, Commander Joint Warfare Centre. During his first official visit, General Abrial received briefings and detailed updates on the Centre, discussed the way ahead on NATO's transformation and where he wanted to take Allied Command Transformation during his tenure. The presentations covered a broad range of subjects such as JWC's comprehesive training and exercise program, innovative concepts and experimentation, Lessons Learned and the Centre's new modern training facility in Jatta.
As part of the visit General Abrial also took a tour of Joint Warfare Centre's interim training facility in Ulsnes and observed the execution of the ongoing JWC-led ISAF pre-deployment training, which holds the distinction of being the Centre's first ISAF mission rehearsal training based on the split headquarters structure for the early 2010 rotations in Afghanistan. This major restructuring is a result of NATO's decision on 3 August 2009 to adjust ISAF command structure and upper chain of command with a view to making it more effective for its demanding operational tasks. According to the decision, a new establishment, called "ISAF Joint Command", was formed which is responsible for executing the full spectrum of tactical operations throughout the country, on a day-to-day basis. ISAF Headquarters will continue to be the higher operational headquarters of NATO in Afghanistan. Joint Warfare Centre's current training at Ulsnes reflects the changes within the ISAF command structure and it is modified to simultanously train personnel who will man the two commands - the ISAF Headquarters and the ISAF Joint Command. Currently, more than 200 personnel are participating to the training event.