For their effective engagement with the NRFC and outstanding contribution to the international Reserve Forces community, the NRFC Chairman Major General Robert GŁĄB awarded the US Head of Delegation BG Joseph D’COSTA and the President of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) Colonel (R) Chris ARGENT with NRFC commemorative plaques.
Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, the awards were sent to the recipients by regular mail.
NRFC plenary Winter Meeting, Norfolk
In accordance with the NRFC calendar, the NRFC plenary Winter Meeting (WM) was held from 03 – 06 JAN 2020 at the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk, USA. The meeting was presided over by the NRFC Chairman MG Robert GŁĄB. 15 NATO Nations and 5 Partner Nations with observer status participated in the meeting.
The participants were welcomed by Vice Admiral Paul BENNETT, Chief of Staff Allied Command Transformation. While addressing the NRFC members, he stressed the importance of Reservists for NATO. COS ACT said that this meeting is an excellent opportunity to exchange views and share best practices in the Reserves’ community and discussing the Cyber is a very good demonstration of how Reservists can be employed nowadays.
The meeting was mainly dedicated to working on the recommendations regarding the role of the NRFC in Reserve Force Cyber Capability Development and the presentation of the national updates on the reserve systems in selected NRFC countries. In order to facilitate the discussions Cyber Subject Matter Experts from the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence, the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR), Denmark, Greece and USA were invited.
A special guest of the meeting was the President of CIOR Col (R) Chris ARGENT (UK) who presented an update on CIOR activities.
CIOR Autumn In Between Management Meeting (IBM) in Edinburgh
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK – NRFC Secretary General Colonel Grzegorz Krawczyk and his 1st Assistant Lieutenant Colonel Zenon Walinski, at the invitation of CIOR President Colonel (Ret) Chris Argent, participated in the CIOR autumn meeting on November 26th, 2019.
During the meeting NRFC Secretary General made a presentation on the current and future NRFC activities and the operationalization of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CIOR and NRFC. Colonel Krawczyk discussed with the CIOR President and Vice-presidents the possibility of setting up a common online platform, exchanging recent information on Reserves gathered in repositories and creating an information booklet on both organizations. Colonel Krawczyk and Colonel Argent also worked out details concerning the CIOR participation in the NRFC Winter Plenary Meeting, which will be organized in HQ SACT in Norfolk (USA) from 3d to 6th February 2020.
They both emphasized the importance of further development of NRFC-CIOR collaboration in the identified areas of common interest.
NRFC Staff Officers met in Budapest
From 28 – 31 October 2019, the Staff Officers Meeting of the NRFC was held in Budapest, Hungary. In this event participated Staff Officers from NATO countries and NRFC permanent observers, Australia and Georgia, as well as liaisons officers from ACT and NATO School Oberammergau. The Chief of Staff of the Hungarian Defence Forces Command, Lieutenant General Zoltán Mihócza, opened the event highlighting the importance of the Reservists for the armed forces and their role in the disaster relief operations. The NRFC Secretary General Col. Grzegorz Krawczyk, also from his side, welcomed the attendees and outlined the main objectives of the Staff Officers Meeting.
The main focus of the meeting was to prepare the Winter Plenary Meeting of the NRFC, which will be held in February 2020 in Norfolk and hosted by HQ SACT. Apart from the administrative issues, the Staff Officers had an opportunity to give a thought to the problems regarding the utilization of Reservists in cyberspace, particularly with focus on the role of NRFC in context of cyber capability development. The discussions were devoted to identification of cyber skills of Reservists, their recruitment and retention. This time the event was enriched by the participation of the invited specialists with expertise in cyber defence from CIOR, Denmark and Germany. The insights and valuable perspectives of the professionals in cyber defence contributed to better understanding of implications and challenges of cyberspace for the attendees. Also, during the meeting, LTC Mark Coburn (CIOR/UK), Assistant Secretary General (Plans), presented the update on the major activities of CIOR, its modernization efforts and the vision for the future of the organization.
Staff Officers greatly appreciated the hospitality of the host nation, the comprehensive briefings and interesting discussions.
Summer Meeting Warsaw
The Heads of Delegations from 16 NATO Nations and 6 Partner Nations with observer status attended this year’s NRFC plenary Summer Meeting, which was held from the 9th to 11th July in Warsaw. The capital of Poland hosted the NRFC Summer Congress for the second time in the NRFC history.
The participants of the meeting were welcomed by the NRFC Chairman BG Robert Głąb. While addressing the NRFC members, BG Głąb said that as the Warsaw Garrison Commander he is honoured to have the opportunity to host NRFC members in the Warsaw Garrison during the 2018-2020 Polish NRFC chairmanship.
He recalled that in January this year NRFC signed with the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) the Memorandum of Understanding and now the major priority for NRFC is the operationalizing the content of the document. The NRFC Chairman reiterated that signing the new MoU with CIOR creates a basis for a potential synergy of vision of Reserves between both organizations. This initiative is very appreciated and supported by the NATO International Military Staff.
A special guest of the meeting was the President of CIOR Col (R) Chris Argent (UK) who made a presentation on the perspectives of the future cooperation with NRFC and CIOR/NRFC joint events. Col Argent stressed that convergence between CIOR and NRFC is needed as there are many areas of common interest. He also informed NRFC about the current and future CIOR activities.
The discussions during the Congress were dedicated to a broad spectrum of subjects related to Reserves. Among them, the most important were Strategic Communications, Cyber, Recruitment and Retention in the context of Cyber and Employer Support/Employer Engagement. The Heads of Delegations discussed how NRFC Nations facilitate the development of cyber capabilities within Reserve forces in support of NATO, how they generate consensus on necessary Cyber capabilities, how they recruit/retain Cyber talents and how they interact with industry. They decided that many of the findings and ideas in the area of Cyber will be pursued by the NRFC Staff Officers during the Staff Officers Meeting (SOM) in Budapest (28-31 October 2019) to which Cyber experts both from NRFC and CIOR will be invited.
The meeting participants were also dealing with StratCom looking at the possibility of extending the StratCom activities within NRFC. To facilitate the discussion, NRFC invited a special guest from SHAPE Mr. Mark Laity, Director of the Communications Division, who attended the meeting and delivered a presentation on the concept of StratCom in NATO.
One of the highlights of the Congress was the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Heads of Delegations paid tribute to the unknown soldiers who have given their lives for Poland by laying an NRFC wreath and putting their inscriptions and signatures in the memorial book.
At the end of the Summer Meeting all the Heads of Delegations congratulated the Host Nation for a successful organization of the meeting and the Chairman thanked the participants for the active involvement in the event and valuable discussions.
The United States hosting ICESR for the first time
From 29th April to 1st May 2019 the International Conference on Employer Support of the Reserves (ICESR) was held for the first time in the United States. It was organized by the United States Department of Defense, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserves and Defense Personnel and Family Support Center and conducted in Washington, DC at the Pentagon Conference Center.
The International Conference on Employer Support of the Reserves (ICESR) is a biennial event that brings together Reserve Force component leaders, employers, government and non-government partners, and other stakeholders from around the globe. The purpose of the conference is to share information and experiences regarding methods of support by and for civilian employers of Reserve Force service members, and to explore future strategies for the development and use of Reserve Forces.
ICESR provides a valuable opportunity for allies and partners to share best practices and develop strategies that positively impact the military reservist/employer relationship to increase readiness.
Fourteen nations participated in ICESR 2019: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The theme of this year’s conference was Employer Engagement ∧ Education, with focus on educating employers and efforts to build mutually beneficial relationships between employers and the military.
The target audience for this conference consisted of personnel who administered or developed employer support programs that sustain Reserve Forces, employers and industry partners, and non-government agency staff who work in employer and military support programs.
One of the highlights of the conference was ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) Bosslift demonstration organized at Joint Base Andrews. It was a mini air show featuring reserve component air power intended to present the reserve acting in dynamic environments to the employers.
In the Unites States employer support is vitally important to the readiness of the National Guard and Reserve and their role in the national security strategy. Service members bring unique talents and skill sets to the civilian workforce, and to make this arrangement work, both the employer and employee are given rights and responsibilities under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. The relationships the US and the ESGR have with their foreign allies from Canada, Australia and Europe are vital for the relationships guard and reserve members have with their employers.
For more information on ICESR, read these three articles below:
NRFC supports the basic course for Reservists at NATO School Oberammergau.
From 27 to 31 May 2019, another iteration of the course entitled NATO Reserve Forces Integration Course (RFIC) was conducted at NATO School Oberammergau.
This is a basic course for reserve officers and non-commissioned officers as well as for specialists dealing with the management of reserves from NATO members and partner countries.
The course consisted of two parts. In the first part, the course participants were familiarized with the history, strategies, organizational structure and response force of NATO. They also learned about the crisis management and current operations conducted by the Alliance.
The second part of the course included training regarding the functioning of reserve forces. The participants had the opportunity to discuss national solutions pertaining to the reserve management in selected NATO members. The essential part of the training constituted the work in syndicates, in which the students had the task to work out a number of recommendations for improving the management of reserve forces.
NRFC remains the Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) for the course. Brigadier General Joseph D’Costa (USA), Vice Director J7 in Pentagon, appeared during the course in the role of a course mentor and evaluated the presented results and summarized the training.
NRFC Secretary General Col Grzegorz Krawczyk discussed the role and major activities of NRFC contributing to achieving NATO’s objectives. This year’s RFIC was supported by Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the USA and by CIOR.
NRFC Spring Staff Officers Meeting in Berlin.
This year’s spring Staff Officers Meeting (SOM) 2019/1 was held between the 1st and 4th of April in Berlin (Germany). Staff Officers from 15 NATO countries and 2 NRFC permanent observers (Australia and Georgia) as well as liaisons officers from ACT and NATO School Oberammergau attended this event.
The participants of the meeting were welcomed by Brigadier General Tilo MAEDLER, the Chief of Division in the Directorate-General for Forces Policy, responsible for Leadership Development and Civic Education, Health Care of the Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) as well as for reservist and veteran affairs. Addressing the SOM participants BG MAEDLER underlined the fact that the security environment is changing and reserves in Germany are becoming a very important issue in the concept of the Bundeswehr transformation and development. He also underlined the fact that the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding with CIOR is a vital initiative to deepen the collaboration between these two organizations.
Secretary General COL Grzegorz KRAWCZYK extended warm congratulations on preparation of the SOM 2019/1 to Germany as the Host Nation and greeted first time participants. On behalf of NRFC Chairman he also awarded LTC Birger Kjer HANSEN (Denmark), who finished his assignment as an NRFC staff officer, with a coin and a certificate and thanked for his commitment and dedication to the NRFC issues.
The main objective of the meeting was the preparation of the Summer Congress in Warsaw (9-11 July) both in terms of selecting syndicates topics for NRFC Heads of Delegations (HoDs) and drafting the NRFC annual report. Moreover, in accordance with the plenary Winter Meeting decisions, the Staff Officers discussed in detail the topic of “Lessons Learned on Reservists in Operations – Post Deployment Phase” – NRFC project led by Canada. NRFC Staff Officers were tasked by HoDs to help strengthen the LLCRO Post Mission Phase Report’s recommendations by participating in a guided discussion.
Another vital item on the agenda was further exploration of the potential avenues of cooperation selected by HoDs during the WM in Brussels in the areas of Cyber, Recruitment and Retention and Employer Support. LTC Mark COBURN (CIOR/UK), Assistant Secretary General (Plans) gave a presentation “NRFC/CIOR Joint Work” from a CIOR perspective and next assisted in the the discussion on future collaboration with CIOR.
Furthermore, the participants reviewed the draft of NRFC STRATCOM Directive for years 2019-2020 prepared by the Secretariat and checked the validity and consistency of NRFC narrative, themes and messages.
At the end of the SOM, Secretary General thanked all participants for their contributions and active discussion during the sessions which resulted in a productive and profitable meeting. Participants expressed their satisfaction with the SOM organization to the Host Nation and the Secretariat. They appreciated insightful talks on reserve issues.
NRFC and CIOR renew the Memorandum of Understanding at the new NATO Headquarters
From 29 to 31 January, 2019 the Winter Plenary Meeting of the National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) was held at the new NATO Headquarters in Brussels, chaired by Brigadier General Robert Głąb (POL). The meeting was devoted to working out the ways of strengthening cooperation between NRFC and CIOR, signing the new NRFC/CIOR Memorandum of Understanding and identifying new NRFC priorities for 2019/2020. During the sessions, there was also presented information on selected national reserve programs and discussed the progress of the current project of the NRFC on Lessons Learned on Reservists in Operations – Post Deployment Phase.
On 30 January, a memorable moment of the Brussels meeting was renewing the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the NRFC Chairman Brigadier General Robert Głąb (POL) and the CIOR President, Colonel (R) Chris Argent (UK). The joint session of NRFC and CIOR started off with a keynote address by the Vice Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann. The General highlighted the value of Reservists as “a capable, credible and available force which continues to be an important element of the Force structure. For some Nations reservists make up almost 50% of their National forces which is understandable when requirements increase but defence spending does not follow. Whereas 20 years ago, reservists were considered more of a last resort, nowadays they are considered incremental to any Nation’s Armed Forces, providing the manpower and specialised skill to supplement regular armed forces”.
Brigadier General Robert Głąb noted that “The NRFC and CIOR are complementary organisations, the first focusing on the Reserves and the second on Reservists. It only made sense to renew this MoU to make sure that where possible we complement each other. The aim is also where and when possible to present a united front and joint advise to the NATO Military Committee. We can only be stronger together”.
In the Memorandum of Understanding it has been stressed that both NRFC and CIOR should work for the good of Reserve Forces providing a consistent, coherent, and unified message. The MoU also stipulates that the NRFC is the policy-making body concerned with the Reserve as an organisation, whilst the CIOR is the practical deliverer concerned with the individual Reservists. At the same time, both NRFC national representatives and CIOR leadership agreed that in the coming months the process which has been started in Brussels, needs to be put in practice.
Participants of the NRFC plenary meeting expressed their satisfaction with the achieved objectives. The next NRFC plenary meeting will take place in Warsaw in July 2019.
Photo Gallery (photo: NATO)
NRFC Plenary Staff Officer Meeting in Oslo, 22-25 October 2018
In accordance with NRFC calendar the Staff Officers Meeting (SOM) 2018/2 took place between the 22nd and 25th October in Oslo (Norway). It was the first meeting which was presided by the Polish NRFC Secretariat during the two years’ Polish NRFC chairmanship that started at the end of June 2018.
Staff Officers from 15 NATO countries and 3 NRFC permanent observers (Australia, Austria and Georgia) as well as LNOs from IMS and ACT attended this event.
The participants of the meeting were welcomed by the Deputy HR Division in NOR Defence Staff, CDRE Bjørn-Erik MARTHINSEN. In his speech, CDRE MARTHINSEN addressed the ramifications of the changing security environment and the refocus on the force generation. He underlined the significance of the NRFC and Reserve Component for armed forces and NATO. He also expressed the confidence that looking at this SOM agenda, participants will be addressing issues vital to build-up and functioning of National Reserve Forces.
Secretary General COL Grzegorz KRAWCZYK expressed sincere congratulations on preparation of the SOM 2018/2 to NOR as the Host Nation and greeted first time participants.
The agenda of the meeting was broad and included many different issues and matters of interests for NRFC. The main topics of the meeting were dedicated to the exchange of best practices/lessons learned, the support of NRFC to NATO Multinational Reserve Network, the amendment of the NRFC SOP and the preparation of Winter Meeting in Brussels at the end of January 2019. The participants especially valued the exchange of ideas in discussions groups in which they had the opportunity to share their national solutions and approaches regarding the use of Reservists in exercises and operations as well as how nations perceive the Reservists complementary and supplementary capabilities in the context of future role of Reserves. The discussions were based on the outcomes of a questionnaire “Reserve Forces Contribution to Achieving NATO’s Objectives”, which was prepared by NRFC Secretariat in accordance with the decision reached by NRFC Heads of Delegations.
At the end of SOM, the Secretary General thanked all participants for their contributions and active discussion during the sessions which resulted in a productive and profitable meeting. Participants expressed their satisfaction with the SOM organization to the Host Nation and the Secretariat. They appreciated valuable talks, interesting and stimulating exchange of information and sharing common interests.
NRFC Plenary Summer Meeting in Stockholm, 26-28 June 2018
This year’s NRFC plenary Summer Meeting (SM) was held from the 26th to 28th of June, 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden, in accordance with the NRFC Winter meeting (WM) 2018 decisions. Heads of Delegations and Staff Officers from 15 NATO countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and USA) and 6 NRFC permanent observers (Australia, Austria, Georgia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and Sweden) as well as IMS and ACT LNOs attended the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllensporre, the Chief of Defence Staff of the Swedish Armed Forces, addressed the participants informing them of the recent changes in the Swedish national approach to the recruitment and training of the personnel as well as exercises with the participation of reservists.
The agenda of the meeting was very intense and included various issues and matters of interests for NRFC. Discussions were focused mainly on the national approaches and views on the issue of increased Reserve support to exercises and training and the use of Reserves across the spectrum of military tasks and the future role of Reserve forces in the context of increased readiness. Moreover, other vital items in the agenda were devoted to updates from IMS and ACT provided by LNOs, NRFC annual report to the Military Committee, the new draft of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the NRFC and CIOR as well as the planning of Winter Meeting 2019 (Brussels).
The participants appreciated valuable talks, interesting and stimulating exchange of information and sharing experiences and lessons learned in the area of Reserves. They expressed their satisfaction with the SM organization to the Host Nation (Sweden) and the Secretariat.
On the last day of the SM (28th of June) the NRFC Handover Ceremony between the Czech Republic and Poland took place. Brigadier General Robert Głąb took over the chairmanship from Major General Jaromir Alan. He expressed his gratitude to NRFC members for the opportunity to perform the duties of NRFC chairman. In accordance with NRFC long tradition BG Głąb, as the new chairman, tapped the gavel – a symbol of the authority – against a lectern to indicate the closing of SM 2018 session.