In the period 10th – 28th May, the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) conducted a Combined Joint Staff Exercise titled Joint Resolve, which is the Centre of Gravity of the Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC) curriculum. The aim of the exercise was to formulate problems related to collective defence and NATO Article 5, while developing a viable joint operational plan using standard NATO processes within an international staff. The scenario developed for the exercise assumes a growing political and military crisis between fictitious states, which turns into an open armed conflict.
The exercise was initially conducted as a cooperation between the BALTDEFCOL and War Studies University (WSU) in Poland, in 2019. In light of COVID-19, the exercise was cancelled in 2020. This year, again due to the COVID pandemic, BALTDEFCOL conducted the exercise without colleagues from WSU.
Altogether 115 participants from 17 NATO and partner countries, including Subject Matter Experts, observers, trainers and Senior Mentors participated in the exercise. The exercise was supported by two Senior Mentors were General (ret.) Erhard Bühler from Germany and Commodore (ret.) Hans Christian Helseth from Norway. Both fulfilled the role as Joint Force Commander for their respective Joint Operations Planning Groups and offered advice and guidance at all levels and phases of the exercise. Students highly appreciated their contribution and engagement.
During the exercise, the students were divided into two joint operational planning groups (JOPG). Within the JOPG, there were two smaller groups – a red and a blue team. The exercise started with an analysis of the Centre of Gravity for the two teams. Students prepared the operational framework and continued preparing the initial courses of action.
It work was followed by developing the most likely and the most dangerous courses of action (COA). The Commandant, Senior Mentors, faculty members and Subject Matter Experts, some of whom were acting as component commanders - land, air, maritime, special operational forces and joint force logistics - observed all the preparations.
On Friday, the 21st May, General Jörg Vollmer, Commander of Joint Force Command (COM JFC) Brunssum paid a visit to BALTDEFCOL. The General was taking part in the Mission Analysis Brief (MAB), which purpose was to present key findings from the Mission Analysis and to receive the commander’s guidance for the development of Courses of Action. On completion, he addressed the students in respect to operational planning within joint and multinational environment.
In the second week, the students prepared blue courses of actions and conducted war-gaming. The aim of this war game is to identify gaps in blue courses of action. On the last day, the COA Decision Brief was conducted. The aim was to present the results of war-game and COAs comparison and seek COM JFC approval for recommended COA and guidance for the Operational Planning Directive and concept of operations.
During the exercise, BALTDEFCOL faced the national restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the two joint operational planning groups worked in different locations. All the exercise participants were tested twice during the exercise and extra measures were in place to avoid spread of the virus. These precautions were effective and no spread of virus could be detected, one of the major factors contributing to the success of this event.
Next year, the exercise will be conducted in Poland and hosted by the WSU.
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