The Joint Warfare Centre: the Transformation link between ACO and ACT
For the past 10 years, the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) has been widely recognized for its expertise in the field of major NATO operational exercises and has offered high quality venues for implementing and “operationalizing” transformational efforts on behalf of ACT for the benefit of ACO, NATO and Nations.
The Joint Warfare Centre: The Very Heart of Transformation
Training and Education and Joint and Combined Concept Development, Experimentation, Assessment and Doctrine are two of the five features that define the process of Transformation. The Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) is at the heart of the transformation and training of operational level NATO forces. Positioned at the crossroads of Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) areas of responsibility, JWC has been advancing the principle of conducting operations based on a common doctrine. JWC also is referenced in a regulation document on NATO doctrine and development (AAP47) as a key element in the Alliance’s doctrinal process.
Amongst the five Divisions comprising the JWC’s structure , the Joint Capability Integration Division (JCID) is more specifically in charge of concepts and doctrine. Following an iterative process, initiated at the highest level of the Alliance (NAC, IMS, ACO, or ACT), this Division drives the incorporation of new concepts formulated by ACO, ACT, a NATO Centre of Excellence or even a Nation into operational level NATO exercises. JCID integrates and monitors this process from inception to final validation.
NATO Exercises: A Laboratory for Military Thought
In 2012, the roles between ACT and ACO relating to collective training were redistributed leading to the implementation of the Military Training and Exercise Programme (MTEP). The programme annually outlines the priorities and intents of the two strategic components of the Alliance regarding instruction.
Beyond training objectives, each NATO exercise aims to improve the headquarters and forces skill-end readiness. In addition, the programme tests and confirms all aspects inherent to NATO operations: procedures, concepts, interoperability, and tactics. The priority for NATO, Nations and JWC in operational preparation is focused on ISAF. However, NATO Response Force (NRF) training exercises, which also fall into the scope of the JWC, offer the best comprehensive and credible environment where operational staff can be trained in a wide range of missions assigned to the Alliance.
With national and NATO Nations’ support, JWC provides modern training and transformation tools.. Using cutting edge, modern facilities JWC provides the ideal environment for new concepts to be tested, adjusted (if necessary), and validated. A recently renewed scenario setting provides possibilities for injecting incidents in order to simulate conditions that challenge the training HQs and their subordinate staffs. JWC not only provides a venue for reaching training objectives but also for adapting to new concepts and doctrine from a structural and procedural point of view then putting them into practice. NRF is trained at least once a year and the doctrine is regularly updated tested. Moreover, the level and the number of units involved (from the tactical to the strategic via the operational) means that the complete military structure of the Alliance is covered and familiarised with best practices, emerging concepts, and doctrinal development.
Being a Doctrinal Enabler for NATO and Nations
Over the past two years the JWC has reinvigorated its “think tank” duty. Along with its sister headquarters, the Joint Force Training Centre and the Joint Analysis & Lessons Learned Centre, JWC has hosted seminars and conferences that contribute to creating a synergy among NATO structures, Centres of Excellence (COE) and the national doctrinal communities.
The JWC is a major actor in the process of transformation. In the framework of the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) through the concept of “NATO forces in 2020”, JWC contributes to maintaining an operational state of high readiness and the efficiency of Allied forces and NATO structures. JWC’s transformational motto could be: “victory smiles at those who anticipate changes in the nature of war and not at those who wait for changes to take place before adjusting to them” (Giulio Douhet, Italian air strategy theoretician).
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