NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre: Celebrating Two Decades of Excellence and Shaping the Future

October 23, 2023

STAVANGER, NORWAY.  Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway. Since its inception, it has solidified its position as NATO’s premier training organization at the operational and strategic levels. It serves as the lead for building, designing and executing computer-assisted command post exercises for the Alliance provided through the annual Military Training and Exercise Programme.

In addition to its contributions to exercises and related activities, the Joint Warfare Centre has been instrumental in shaping NATO doctrine, capturing valuable lessons learned, conducting experiments, and advancing capability development.

As the cornerstone of NATO’s presence in the Northern region, the Joint Warfare Centre focuses on training NATO Command and Force Structures, enhancing their capacity to engage in full-spectrum, joint operational-level warfare. Moreover, it stands as a preeminent warfare centre that supports NATO in its ongoing warfare development and its preparations for the ever-evolving security landscape.

The Joint Warfare Centre was established following a pivotal decision made at the 2002 Prague Summit, which marked one of NATO’s most ambitious restructuring initiatives at the time. During the inauguration ceremony on October 23, 2003, Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr. (Ret.), NATO’s first Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, characterized the Joint Warfare Centre as “the Jewel in the Crown of Allied Command Transformation.” He noted that “The Joint Warfare Centre is not the typical NATO peacetime headquarters that we associate with the Alliance. It provides a unique warfare capability that will help NATO’s joint and combined warfighters meet the challenges of today and anticipate the challenges of the future.”

Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne, drew a poignant parallel by sharing that “as Allied Command Transformation embodies the transatlantic link, the Joint Warfare Centre has long provided the strong connective tissue uniting both sides of NATO’s military structure [Allied Command Transformation and Allied Command Operations], providing all of us with a place where the best ideas or innovations from across the Alliance can be tried out.”

Later this week, to mark this momentous 20th Anniversary, the Joint Warfare Centre and the local community will unite in celebration, recognizing the invaluable contributions made by the Centre since its establishment in Jåttå, Stavanger, Norway. 

Subordinate to one of NATO’s two strategic commands, NATO Allied Command Transformation (located in Norfolk, Virginia, in the United States), the Joint Warfare Centre achieved full operational capability in 2006 and has since evolved into the preeminent collective training establishment for the NATO Alliance at the operational and strategic levels of warfare. Its legacy continues to shape the readiness and adaptability of NATO’s military forces, ensuring they remain prepared for the challenges of the future.