Connected Forces through Collective Training
The ability to meet future challenges in an unpredictable global environment can be achieved with the skilled coordination of long-term initiatives and strengthening of a collective training framework.
NATO's Level of Ambition (LOA) is to cope with two Major Joint Operations (MJO) and six Smaller Joint Operations (SJO) concurrently outside the area of responsibility. This is on paper. To make it become reality, the Joint Warfare Centre is in a unique position to observe Joint Force Command (JFC) and Component Command headquarters capacities and capabilities. It's one of the objectives of the "STEADFAST" series exercises and we observed that the most successful HQs have been the ones that could quickly integrate staff augmentees into their organisation.
Despite NATO's recent success in Operation Unified Protector (OUP), where staff augmentees comprised a significant percentage of the HQ staffs, it appears that there is still a gap between the observed capabilities of our component-level HQs in the current NATO Command Structure and those estimated necessary to fully support the ambition quoted above.
OUP provides a good basis for illustration. The air component responsible for the campaign, manned with personnel drawn from a large standing staff and heavily augmented, was challenged to conduct 24/7 operations and execute approximately 120 sorties a day – which is about a third of the maximum production of a SJO (defined as 350 sorties per day). As another example, in the most recent Steadfast Juncture 2011 exercise, the NFS air component was supplemented by augmentees outnumbering the core staff to support a sortie generation rate less than half that of OUP. This manning level is representative of the majority of NFS air components who may become responsible to execute NATO's MJO LOA of 1,000 sorties a day. This implies an expected level of required augmentation of fully trained personnel that would dwarf the standing staff it was intended to complement.
In addition, the current fiscal environment creates definite challenges for NATO to maintain the expertise and infrastructure to ensure the Joint Force and component HQs receive the proper level of collective training and exercises.
Improve Realism of Training
For NATO to be more credible and effective, robust collective training and exercises challenging the Joint Force and Component HQs are required. This training must stress both the internal and external HQ interactions expected during both Article 5 and non-Article 5 crisis response operations. Therefore, NATO must build a collective training framework dedicated to warfare integration as the foundation to accomplish its robust LOA.
To achieve this vision of robust collective training and exercises, NATO must improve its capabilities to match its LOA. A single organisation at the Joint Force level as well as warfare-specific organisations (land, air and maritime) at the component-level will be tasked to work cooperatively to achieve vertical and horizontal integration at the component level and above.
|For NATO to be more credible and effective, robust collective training and exercises challenging the Joint Force and Component headquarters are required, building a collective training framework dedicated to warfare integration as the foundation to accomplish its robust level of ambition.|
Currently the Joint Warfare Centre executes the collective training and exercise requirements at the Joint Force level. However NATO should consider building domain-specific warfare or integration centres, either internal to, or partnered with, NCS Component Commands to ensure proper training and integration in NATO's collective training arena.
Given a Peacetime Establishment that limits the ability for Components of the NCS to internally form an embryonic warfare centre to execute their collective training, exercise and warfare integration is difficult. An alternative is for a Nation to specialise in a domain-specific (land, air or maritime) warfare centre by converting an existing national centre and partnering with a specific Component. Other Nations, as well as the NATO-accredited Centres of Excellence (COEs), could then cooperate with the lead Nation to provide expertise and benefit from these domain-specific capabilities.
These ideas are definitely long-term initiatives requiring further refinement. However, by strengthening its collective training framework NATO can match its robust LOA to meet the future challenges of an unpredictable global environment.
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