On Monday 26 January, at the military base in Albacete, in southeast Spain, nine French and two Greek military personnel were killed in the crash of a Greek F-16 fighter jet. I want to express my solidarity to our brothers in arms, the families and friends of victims during this dramatic accident.
Created on July 1st, 2005, Headquarters Rapid Reaction Corps-France (HQ RRC-FR) is a NATO certified French headquarters, able to command a national or multinational land component of 5,000 to 60,000 personnel. HQ RRC, stationed in Lille, employs more than 400 military coming from thirteen different nations.
SACT's visit to RRC-France in its "Citadelle" is a sign of recognition of its capabilities and "savoir-faire" by the Alliance. The main objective of this visit was to discuss the prospects for "post-Afghanistan training", as well as optimizing the way forward.
RRC–France HQ was ahead on its readiness for NRF 2014, finalized by Steadfast Jazz 14 Exercise. In October 2015, RRC-France should have a scheduled deployment in Poland.
General Paloméros concluded his visit by emphasizing the fact that "Rapid Reaction Corps-France is fully part of the NATO landscape and has a privileged position there".
Photo and video credit: Rapid Reaction Corps France
NORFOLK, Va. - NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) continues to raise the bar in gender perspective training around the world. In the most recent United Nations Security Council Report, NATO was recognised for having "strengthened the gender training delivered through the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations."
SACT was welcomed by CSO Deputy Director, Major General (ret.) Roger Renard, and NATO's Chief Scientist, Major General Albert Husniaux. SACT's visit was an opportunity for him to present CSO's Collaborative Program of Work (CPoW) and speak about issues pertaining to ACT and CSO collaboration. It was also an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned two years after the CSO establishment and to identify ways to further improve the relationship between the two entities, from better understanding of military needs to exploitation of scientific results.
The CSO is part of the NATO Science & Technology Organization (STO). Its mission is to conduct and promote cooperative research and information exchange, to support the development and effective use of national defence research and technology – to meet the military needs of the Alliance.
"On behalf of the entire Allied Command Transformation, I want to express my solidarity to the French Community in the United States as well as French and other Allies' commitment to fight against all kinds of extremism and terrorism and defend our core values of democracy and freedom, and more particularly in these dramatic circumstances, the freedom of expression."
NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros along with Stability Policing Centre of Excellence (SP COE) Director Colonel Fausto Vignola lead a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony during the Chiefs of Transformation Conference December 18, 2014 officially establishing the SP COE.
The MOU establishes Italy as the framework nation for the SP COE which is located in Vicenza, Italy. Sponsoring nations included the Czech Republic, France, Poland, Spain, The Netherlands, Turkey and Romania.
The NATO SP COE operates as a prime mover to increase contributions to the stability and reconstruction efforts of the Alliance in post-conflict scenarios and it will help NATO fill the capability gap in the area of Stability Policing. It will also act as an internationally recognised focal point and a hub of expertise for a Community of Interest in the field of Stability Policing, contributing to the NATO Strategic Concept.
The Princess met with Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros; the Deputy Commander, Italian Air Force General Mirco Zuliani; and Chief of Staff, British Army Lieutenant General Phil Jones.
Princess Tessy will attend the 2014 Chiefs of Transformation Conference (COTC) in Norfolk, Virginia, December 16-18. The COTC, hosted annually by SACT, provides a forum where national Chiefs of Transformation and NATO leaders can collaborate and share ideas regarding the future of the Alliance. Last year, more than 270 participants from 50 different countries attended. HQ SACT is the only NATO headquarters located in the United States.
Continuing to strengthen its relationships with academic institutions, Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) has established an agreement with Regent University's Military & Veteran's Affairs in Norfolk, Virginia.
Earlier this fall, NATO staff officers Lieutenant Colonel Alfonso Alvarez (Spanish Army) and Commander Matteo Minelli (Italian Navy) attended a signing ceremony for the letter of accord with Regent's executive vice president for operations, Dr. Paul Bonicelli.
"The agreement between Regent and NATO SACT enables both parties to benefit from the wealth of expertise that the other has to offer. Based also on a scholarship agreement for SACT staff and their families, all beneficiaries will have access to a variety of very valuable educational benefits," said Minelli, who represents NATO SACT Strategic Issues & Engagement, Academic Outreach.
The agreement establishes a military tuition scholarship for qualified active duty SACT employees, currently nearly 600 employees from NATO's 28 nations, their spouses and dependents, offering a 25 percent discount on tuition for Regent's College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) and graduate programs.
David Boisselle, director of Military & Veteran's Affairs, said that international military officers receiving education from Regent will extend the school's global reach even further.
"The mission of the university is 'Christian leadership to change the world,' you come to Regent to get educated, and go back into your professions to shine that Christian light," said Boisselle. "Everyone leaves here emboldened and equipped."
Learn more about Regent University here.
General Mirco Zuliani was inducted into the U.S. "Air University International Honor Roll" on December 3rd. This was in recognition of his achievement as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (DSACT).
The U.S. International Officer School named a total of 24 former students to its Honor Roll. This was done in recognition of their military career achievements in their respective countries, rising to Flag and General Officer ranks, and happened in the presence of Ms. Heidi H. Grant, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs.
A plaque engraved with General Zuliani's name and position is now permanently displayed at the school.
During the ceremony, DSACT thanked the President of the Air University for the opportunity to attend the college 22 years ago.
Among the other officers inducted are: Major General Rumen Radev (Commander, Bulgarian Air Force); General Thomas J. Lawson (Chief of Defence Staff, Canadian Armed Forces); Brigadier General Libor Stefanik (Commander Czech Air Force); Colonel Jaak Tarien (Commander, Estonian Air Force); Major General Amir Eshel (Commander, Israeli Air Force); General Harukazu Saitoh (Chief of Staff, Japanese Air Self-Defense Force); Lieutenant General (retired) Khamis S.F. Al Marzouq (Commander, Kuwaiti Air Force); Lieutenant General H. Bart Hoitink (Inspector General, Dutch Armed Forces); Major General Laurian Anastasof (Chief of Romanian Air Force Staff).
The International Honor Roll has over the years recognised 456 military leaders from 97 countries.
The purpose of this visit was to become informed on current and future NATO M&S COE work and activities in support of NATO and its member nations and to discuss upcoming challenges and issues. This was the first opportunity for SACT to meet in person with the Centre's team and with the member nations' representatives. Senior Italian General Staff officers also participated.
General Paloméros was briefed by the NATO M&S COE Director, Italian Air Force Colonel Stefano Nicolò, and the Deputy Director, US Army Lieutenant Colonel John Ferrell on the centre's history, mission and organisation, lines of effort and products and services currently offered by the centre. A particular focus was on education & training opportunities, unique technological capabilities and internal initiatives relevant to a wide spectrum of M&S activities within NATO.
Following a tour of the facility, key staff from the COE briefed and demonstrated live a select group of projects which illustrate the current value of the M&S COE and the potential for future derived benefits. These demonstrations also highlighted the importance of the many partnerships and collaborations the COE has with industry, academia and governmental institutions – in order to achieve better interoperability.
General Paloméros commended the NATO M&S COE's current efforts in support of the Alliance and acknowledged the COE's desire and potential to further improve its capacity and capability to more effectively contribute to overcoming NATO's challenges. With this potential in mind, SACT commented that the COE will be championed at the highest levels within NATO to become responsible for more challenging roles within the M&S domain.
During a recent visit to Romania, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros spoke to 350 staff and students at the National Defence University in Bucharest: 115 student officers attending Master's degree courses, and 200 officers attending post university degree courses (tactical, operational and strategic level). Some of these courses are being held in English (Brigade Staff Officers Course and Advanced Joint Staff Officers Course). The audience also counted thirty faculty members.
SACT described NATO's Transformation efforts and advocated three simple messages to the Romanian students and young officers. Firstly, they are "members of an Alliance which has just celebrated its 65th anniversary, which can be proud of its past, and which is ready to defend the sovereignty and security of its 28 members, the sovereignty and security of 900 million people". Secondly, "NATO is taking on its responsibilities to cope with emerging threats; and thirdly, the transformation efforts that SACT's command is leading, are indispensable to adapt the NATO Alliance and prepare its future".
SACT stressed that "[This] is above all a real opportunity for a Strategic Commander to reaffirm the Alliance's resolve to support its Eastern Allies, to support Romania and many other Allies, in a time when ambiguity and development of hybrid threats is increasing on the flanks of the Alliance, and certainly in the East and South-East".
One international officer was also present – a major from Tunisia – he is a student in the Multinational Operations and Regional Crisis Management Department.
Click here to read the full speech given at the National Defence University.
General Paloméros also visited the NATO Human Intelligence Centre of Excellence (HCOE) whilst in Romania. SACT was among others accompanied by Romanian Deputy Chief of Defence, Major General Nicolae Ciucă and the Director of the national Military Intelligence Directorate, Major General Cristian-Iulian Dincovici.
The HCOE Director, Colonel Eduard Simion, explained the COE's mission to SACT. During the presentation of the COE mission as well as the infrastructure, General Paloméros underlined the importance of the NATO Centres of Excellence for the Strategic Commands. He congratulated the HCOE Director for the centre's achievements, emphasised the centre's timely and accurate response to the NATO requests for support and for its "outstanding educational infrastructure".
The Albanian Minister of Defence, Mimi Kodheli visited Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) October 30. She was greeted by Deputy SACT, Italian Air Force General Mirco Zuliani.
This was the first time that an Albanian government official visited the NATO headquarters in Norfolk since April 2009, when the country became a NATO member.
In his welcome remarks General Zuliani said that "Albania has a long record of collaboration with [Allied Command Transformation] and we recognise the work that has been done through the accession and integration process. Likewise, Albania forms a part of our unique community, representing common values and a strong desire for international peace and security".
The Albanian delegation met with the broader ACT leadership in a round table discussion aimed at gaining insight in ACT strands of work. The discussion was focused on topics including the Smart Defence and Connected Forces Initiatives, Defence Planning and NATO's Centres of Excellence.
NATO is working with its member nation Albania in a range of areas, with particular emphasis on defence and security sector reform, as well as support for wider democratic and institutional reforms.
Albania played an important role in supporting NATO efforts to end the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo in 1999 and secure the peace after the NATO operation. The country allowed the NATO allies to establish a logistics support command centre in the capital Tirana to help sustain peacekeeping operations in neighboring Kosovo.
Around 240 key military and civilian communicators from both the NATO command structure and member nations recently met in Split, Croatia for their annual conferences and workshops. New this year was that all the communication communities met at the same location during the same week: Strategic Communications, Public Affairs, military Public Affairs, Psychological Operations and Information Operations. These communities have typically met separately during the year and since they all contribute to the same effort, a closer coordination of their work has been a clearly defined goal. Such a 'conference of conferences' will also reduce travel cost and time away from the office, as many staff had been going to more than one meeting.
"Building trust between communities that traditionally have been skeptical of each other has been crucial to make this happen," said the Chief of Public Affairs and Deputy Chief of Strategic Communication for Allied Command Transformation, Mr. Roy Thorvaldsen. "We consider the first try successful enough to do it again next year before passing any verdict of the new format," Thorvaldsen said.
There were plenary sessions at the beginning and the end of the conference week, and in-between the communities held their individual conferences and working groups according to their own program.
The conference main themes were on-going geo-political events in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. There were also updates on the latest operational matters and the Strategic Communications Capability Development projects.
NATO's two strategic commanders, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, US Air Force General Philip M Breedlove, and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros, gave opening remarks via recorded video message.
NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, attended the opening of the event, and NATO Spokesperson Ms. Oana Lungescu addressed the conference – underling the importance of working together in creating and communicating the NATO narrative.
The 8th Operations Research and Analysis (OR&A) Conference was held on 20-21 October in Prague, in the Czech Republic. The conference theme was to capture lessons from two decades of conflict and to chart the way forward when confronted with the challenges of the changing security environment.
The conference was co-sponsored by Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and the Science and Technology Organization (STO). In opening remarks the Director for the Czech Defence Planning, Dr Jan Jircek, the NATO Chief Scientist Major General Albert Husniaux and Assistant Chief of Staff Capability Engineering and Innovation, Brigadier General Henrik Sommer touched upon a common theme of future strengths and opportunities for the OR&A within the Alliance nations.
About 24 presentations on OR&A issues covering a wide spectrum of topics on the value and usefulness of analysis, analytical tools and methods, defence studies and military application of OR&A filled the program for the eighty-five participants of the conference.
Presentations will be made available on the ACT website on the OR&A page.
Commander of the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), German Army Major General Reinhard Wolski, leads a round table discussion with National Liaison Representatives during his first visit to the Headquarters of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) in Norfolk, Virginia, since assuming command on September 24.
Major General Wolski met with SACT, French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros, Deputy SACT Italian Air Force General Mirco Zuliani and Chief of Staff British Army Lieutenant General Phil Jones. He also discussed with SACT flag officers and generals about optimising JWC operations to the benefit of the Alliance. Topics included the NATO Defence Planning and Training processes, education and individual training, and the NATO Response Force.
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros opened the Conference with a short recording emphasising the contributions of NATO COEs to the Alliance and encouraging development of "a federated project approach to deal with the complexity of the geopolitical environment." General Paloméros told the audience: "Strategic awareness, resilience and hybrid warfare are but a few of the key challenges NATO must face in the future. The magnitude of these issues is insurmountable by any single institution, but a federated organisation of subject matter experts may hold the key to unlocking this complexity and developing a comprehensive strategic approach to these global issues. I believe you are the right community to support this development in very close cooperation with ACT."
The 2014 conference marked the first time a Director co-chaired the event with ACT's Transformation Network Branch. The Conference provided the Directors and opportunity to discuss their support to NATO through their Programmes of Work, future Military Committee engagements, and updating and approving new Terms of Reference for the group.
The conference was attended by representatives from all 20 NATO COEs as well as centres currently under development, as well as representatives from the International Staff of the NATO Headquarters and a discussion with the Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Ambassador Sorin Ducaru.
The annual COE Directors' conference is a meeting of COE Directors to discuss issues relevant to the COE community, compare experiences, share best practices, discuss mutual support and cooperation, provide a forum for an exchange of views on the way ahead and thus facilitate directors' networking in order to increase the individual collective effectiveness of the Centres.
On behalf of Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), the Federated Mission Networking (FMN) Implementation Seminar has been successfully completed in Vilnius, Lithuania. The two-day Seminar was attended by 33 nations and over 190 attendees.
Specifically mentioned in the Wales NATO Summit declaration, FMN is a unique initiative. It neatly brings together the notion of enhanced interoperability, it respects the important roles of partners in the federation and it improves command and control while building on the lessons of the Afghan Mission Network (AMN). It is a key component of the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) and the achievement of NATO Forces 2020.
Allied Command Transformation used the Seminar to continue the work to operationalise national and NATO FMN ambitions by addressing six important areas including doctrine, FMN affiliation, mission threads, training and exercises, alignment within NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) and synchronisation with Cyber Defence development.
Attendees were updated on best practices, and received information on how fielded national capabilities can be utilised to deliver FMN quickly and cost-effectively. NATO and national representatives also contributed to defining strategic solutions to the most challenging of FMN issues.
NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros, conducted a three-day visit to Norway this week to meet with Norwegian defence and political leaders, including Chief of Defence Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, and discuss the future role of Norway in the Alliance.
During an interview with the Norwegian Armed Forces Media Centre on September 23, 2014, SACT stressed that the Alliance forces still will be highly active in Europe, especially in the East.
"We will continue our reassurance measures. We will show that we are present and that there is no lack of will to defend our member states if necessary," said General Paloméros.
He said that one reassurance measure taken would be increased exercise frequency in Eastern Europe. This can be seen later this fall when NATO conducts a two-month exercise in Latvia. A battle group from the Norwegian military will take part.
"NATO will always be ready," General Paloméros said. "We are therefore continually working for a strong cooperation between our member states, but also with our partner countries and other partners like the EU [European Union]," said SACT.
General Paloméros highlighted Norway's experience and expertise in military preparedness and training in cold climates and noted that this expertise is important for NATO's role in the Arctic.
"Many parties and countries have interests in the Arctic; among them are several of our members," said SACT. "We hope and wish that the Arctic remains a quiet area where the involved can share the opportunities that exist in the Arctic."
He added that NATO will be present in the Arctic, should it become necessary. "I want to stress that NATO is an alliance for peace and security, but we will also be present if and when needed."
SACT is the second senior NATO leader to visit Oslo in recent months. Three months ago, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Philip Breedlove, visited the capital city.
During the NATO Summit in Wales, the Alliance officially established a Cyber Range Capability. In a signing ceremony that took place on September 4th, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Estonian Minister of Defence, Sven Mikser which details arrangements for NATO's use of the Estonian Defence Forces' national cyber range facility.
NATO first used the Estonian national cyber range capability in 2013 during its annual exercise CYBER COALITION 2013. This event proved to be a very successful way to meet NATO's training needs in the cyber realm. Since that time, Allied Command Transformation (ACT) has been working to detail the requirements for a NATO Cyber Range capability taking into account the offer from the Government of Estonia earlier this year to host a cyber range utilising their national capability.
In a brief speech during the ceremony, General Paloméros stated that this capability will allow NATO "to conduct cyber-related training, exercises, and education [...] in a trusted and secure environment" and "will provide an essential contribution to our effort to build more responsive and flexible forces, adapted to a very challenging security environment, which we are addressing during the Wales Summit."
During a June meeting, the Defence Ministers of the Alliance approved a NATO Cyber Range Capability be established in time for the Summit building on Estonian national facility This agreement represents the establishment of such a capability and is a significant step in ensuring NATO is prepared to meet the evolving challenges of the cyber domain and that it has access to a facility where it can conduct exercises and train its network operators. While the details of the MOU were not discussed during the ceremony, the first official use of the capability and agreement will take place later this year in Estonia when NATO holds the next CYBER COALITION exercise in November.
With the MOU in place, ACT and NATO's other Strategic Command, the headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO) in Mons, Belgium, will begin finalising their work on detailed cyber range requirements – that NATO can take forward to ensure that it has the necessary cyber range capability for its ambitions and requirements in the foreseeable future.
General Paloméros commands NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) which is located at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia. ACT is the only NATO headquarters in North America and the only permanent command located outside of Europe.
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (DSACT), Italian Air Force General Mirco Zuliani visited Sweden August 27-28, where he met with the Chief of Defence, the Supreme Commander and the Defence State Secretary.
Among the more prominent topics discussed were Sweden's willingness to move forward with stricter collaboration on Cyber Defence and the Future Mission Network (FMN) project. The Swedish leaders confirmed their commitment to cooperation with NATO Allied Command Transformation. Focus was also on the next Chief of Transformation Conference, which will be held in Norfolk in December.
"I appreciate the level of engagement with NATO of Sweden", General Zuliani said, "likewise how Sweden is presently engaged in two NATO-led operations, such as ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] and KFOR [Kosovo Force]."
"Moreover" he said, "in the light of the Ukraine – Russia crisis, the importance of relationship between NATO and Sweden has increased."
With regards to the Connected Force Initiative (CFI), DSACT and the Swedish authorities agreed that training and exercises provide the essential opportunities to preserve and enhance the interoperability, albeit both have to consider where they might improve.
DSACT's visit also included stops at the Amphibious Regiment and Fourth Naval Squadron where he toured several ships.
This was the second visit to a Partnership for Peace (PfP) nation this week to engage leaders in dialogue on ways to improve interoperability and strengthen cooperation between NATO and PfP nations. Before he came to Sweden, General Zuliani visited Finland to meet with leaders of that country.
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (DSACT), Italian Air Force General Mirco Zuliani visited Finland 25-26 August. There he met with the Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces General Jarmo Lindberg and Chief of the Finnish Defence Command Vice Admiral Juha Rannikko.
Discussions focused on Finland's future cooperation with Allied Command Transformation (ACT), Cyber Defence, Partnership Programs, and the on-going transformation of the Finnish Defence Forces.
"I found this visit a very interesting and useful interaction and believe it allowed Finland to better comprehend most of the current venues of NATO's work, and [it] should result in more pro-active and profound mutual cooperation," said General Zuliani.
General Zuliani and his counterparts also discussed the Ukraine crisis and the upcoming NATO Summit in Wales, and he was briefed extensively on the structure of the Finnish Defence Forces.
DSACT also visited the Pori Brigade, located at the Finnish Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Conscript Training and Exercise, which represents the core of the Finnish Defence Forces' participation in international operations and exercises.
Finland is one of the pillars of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, with more than 800 personnel currently deployed on Peace Support Operations (PSOs).
"I appreciate that Finland maintains the same mutual commitment to both EU-and NATO-led peace support operations," said General Zuliani. "The constant commitment of the more than 800 personnel is significant."
Finland was recently offered a position of Department Head (DH) for a PSO and will be participating in exercise "Trident Juncture 2015". Finland is also an active member of the Advisory Connected Forces Initiative Task Force (ACTF), where Brigadier General Juha Eino Pyykonen, Commanding Officer of Pori Brigade, will be the next co-chairman.
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), British Army General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, visited Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT) July 29. DSACEUR was briefed on the work of ACT, with special focus on the areas where ACT collaborates with Allied Command Operations (ACO). Some of the themes covered were the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP), the Smart Defence initiative, Framework for Future Alliance Operations (FFAO), Education and Training, and the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI).
Close cooperation between ACT and ACO is regarded essential for the Alliance to be able to meet the 21st century's security challenges.