NATO ACT in the News

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NATO-Georgia Exercise 2016

161120nge400The NATO-Georgia Exercise 2016 is a landmark exercise that strengthened Georgia’s self-defence, deterrence and resilience capabilities.

NATO’s Military Committee visits NATO’s home in the United States

161116mc01 400Norfolk, VA. General Denis Mercier, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation hosted the Military Committee, NATO’s senior military authority, during an important visit to the headquarters of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT) on November 16 – 17th.

Concept Development and Experimentation: Adaptation and Innovation in a Dynamic Environment

161110cde01 400SOFIA, Bulgaria – More than 300 military and civilian experts in Concept, Development and Experimentation gathered in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the annual International Concept Development and Experimentation Conference November 14th-16th.

NATO awarded RESOLVE Hope for Access Award

161116resolve250NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, based in Norfolk, VA is the Alliance’s only permanent Headquarters in North America. The Headquarters was humbled to be nominated for the 2016 Hope of Access Award by one of its staff members, Mrs Dani Fenning and we are delighted to receive this prestigious award on behalf of NATO.

Founded in 1974 by Barbara Eck, RESOLVE is a national not for profit organisation based in the USA. Its mission is to provide timely, compassionate support and information to people who are experiencing infertility and to increase awareness of infertility issues through public education and advocacy. The Hope for Access Award is given annually to an organisation whose work or actions help to increase access to family building options, including adoption and medical treatment.

In nominating NATO for the award, Mrs Fenning said,

“Two years ago my husband and I were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. After 3 years, which included undergoing IVF treatment, we were finally successful in getting pregnant and we are expecting our baby girl to arrive on the 1st January! Although the journey to grow our family has been mentally and physically difficult for us, the support I received throughout from NATO was incredible. This was not just in terms of support from my manager and colleagues or the flexibility I was given to allow me to go to all my many medical appointments, but also in terms of the healthcare coverage I was able to draw on. I also discovered that even if I had not been able to conceive, NATO’s policies are equally supportive of families who choose to adopt.

Not only does this award allow me to thank NATO as my employer for helping us to grow our family, but I also hope to continue to raise awareness of infertility as an issue. I wanted to ensure our leaders recognise the positive impact that these family friendly policies and working environment can have on the 1 in 8 couples who face infertility.”

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) employs approximately 6000 staff in 20 countries. Allied Command Transformation’s mission is to contribute to preserving the peace, security and territorial integrity of Alliance member states by leading (at the strategic command level) the transformation of military structures, forces, capabilities, and doctrines to improve the military effectiveness of NATO. As an employer, NATO is constantly seeking ways to modernise and update its terms and conditions of employment. To further this aim at an organisational level, a NATO-wide Human Resources Strategy was developed in 2014. The Strategy is based on five key pillars; Leadership and Best Bractice; Compensation and Benefits; Staff Management; Diversity and Culture; Efficiency and Planning and Making Change. The pillars are underpinned by a theme of creating an attractive, flexible workplace environment that supports a modern and inclusive employment framework that enables the identification, encouragement and nurturing of staff to grow and develop within the organisation.

Although they are vitally important, creating this environment is not just about regulatory improvements to remove gender specific language and harmonise arrangements for parental leave, including provision for adoptive parents. Rather it is also about a holistic approach that combines a supportive working environment where job sharing and part-time working opportunities are available and where there are opportunities for negotiating flexible working hours and tele-working.

It is investment in these flexible and forward-looking Human Resources policies that continues to support our ability to attract and recruit the best and brightest employees from amongst the 28 member Nations of the NATO Alliance.

A New Look for NATO’s Home in the US

161115ribbon 400NORFOLK, VA – Work on the expansion of NATO’s Allied Command Transformation was completed on November 15th, 2016, with a ribbon cutting Ceremony performed by the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Denis Mercier.

NATO-Industry Forum 2016

161109nif400NATO officials and representatives of the defence and security industry gathered on 9 November 2016 for the annual NATO-Industry Forum, held this year at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels.

NATO Ambassadors Visit Allied Command Transformation

161102permreps400NORFOLK – General Denis Mercier, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, and the Allied Command Transformation team hosted a two-day visit of NATO Ambassadors from Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany and Montenegro at NATO’s North American Headquarters on November 2nd and November 3rd.

Challenging NATO – Challenging Industry

161028industry 400It started with a dare. How could industry be more involved in NATO exercises so that they could better understand NATO challenges on operations?

NATO’s Allied Command Transformation at the Heart of Discussions at the Defence Ministerial Meetings

161027defmin01 400161027defmin01 400General Denis Mercier joined NATO Defence Ministers meetings in Brussels, Belgium to highlight NATO’s Allied Command Transformation’s relationship with the European Defence Agency.

2016 Strategic Military Partner Conference

161021smpc400NATO Allies and partner nations concluded the annual Strategic Military Partners Conference in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, October 21st. The conference brought together 245 participants from 48 different nations, 25 of which are partner nations.

Allies and partners share skills and expertise: the PTEC Marketplace 2016

161020ptec400Partnership Training and Education Centres (PTEC) play an essential role in supporting NATO’s objectives for partnership with non-member countries.

NATO Launches Cyber Acquisition Reform Study with RAND

BRUSSELS — NATO Allied Command Transformation and the NATO Communications and Information Agency launched on October 17 an independent research project to examine ways to streamline NATO’s cyber capability development and acquisition processes.

161018ncia randRAND was selected to lead the project. The project will aim to define the challenges NATO faces in adjusting its cyber development and acquisition processes and make recommendations on how to address them.

This study comes in parallel to decisions taken at this year’s NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, to strengthen the Alliance’s cyber defence.

“Innovation is vital for NATO to keep its technological and operational edge, and this extends to our cyber acquisition process,” said Lieutenant General Jeffrey Lofgren USAF, Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation.

“Through our work at ACT, we have already concluded we need a revised acquisition process that delegates authority, manages risk as opposed to eliminating it, and rewards quick delivery. This cyber acquisition study—unprecedented in scope—is a critical step toward achieving those aims, and I am pleased that the RAND will lead it.”

“RAND is pleased to support this important study to examine ways to better streamline cyber acquisition efforts. In an environment where technological advances move at pace, it is critical that NATO is able to field capabilities which are current and flexible. We are confident our research will identify options to help NATO meet this challenge–both now and in the future,” said Hans Pung, President, RAND Europe.

Need for speed
At this year’s Warsaw Summit, Allied Heads of State and Government made a historic decision to recognize cyberspace as NATO’s fourth operational domain – along land, sea and air.

They pledged to ensure the Alliance keeps pace with the fast evolving cyber threat landscape.

NATO plans to invest around 70 million Euro in a cyber technology refresh over the next three years, with the NCI Agency responsible for the acquisition.

NCI Agency General Manager, Major General (retired) Koen Gijsbers added: “The dramatic growth in commercial innovation with military applications in the cyber domain along with the gravity and fast- evolving nature of the cyber threat are driving the need for re-thinking how we acquire cyber capabilities.”

“We very much look forward not only to the results of the study, but also to implementing recommendations to make our cyber acquisition process faster, more innovative, and more flexible so we can fully tap the innovative capacity of large and small companies and academia across the Alliance in support of NATO cyber defence.”

This project will encompass the activities required to develop a report on the “Improvement of NATO Cyber Capability Fielding Process.” This includes analysing current NATO cyber capability development policy, processes and practices and proposing short- and long-term actions with the ultimate goal of permanent innovation, continuous engagement with industry and academia, and rapid identification of new requirements and acquisition of solutions.

The final report is expected in January 2017.

Siblings Engineering a NATO bridge over the Atlantic

Norfolk, VA. The Deputy Commander of the NATO’s Joint Forces Command in Brunnsum, Netherlands, Lieutenant General Fernando Alejandre met up with his younger brother, Colonel Javier Alejandre, during a visit to Norfolk on 14 October.

161014tr link400Colonel Javier Alejandre is the Branch Head for Strategic communications at NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Headquarters (HQ SACT) and was delighted to welcome his eldest sibling to the Headquarters.

“It is a privilege to welcome my brother, Lieutenant General Fernando Alejandre, to HQ SACT. As engineers, we are quite used to building bridges, but a bond that bridges the Atlantic Ocean as part of the NATO family is very special.” Said Colonel Javier Alejandre.

“This is my first visit to the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, since taking up my position of Deputy Commander of the Joint Forces Command. As an operational Command, it is vital that we are ready, capable and trained to lead NATO’s Response Force when called upon and our integral involvement in the NATO Exercise programme, run by HQ SACT, is critical to success.” Said Lieutenant General Fernando Alejandre.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit [Colonel] Javier while I am here. The miles of ocean may separate us, but we are a very close family and I thoroughly enjoy every opportunity to re-connect”, he said.

Both of these fine NATO officers are Engineers in the Spanish Army and have served their country for a combined 83 years, including numerous operational tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Bosnia during their service.

As the third generation of military service in the Alejandre family, they are very proud of their long family tradition of service and each have children that have continued that tradition. Lieutenant General Fernando Alejandre has two sons who are infantry company commanders, while Colonel Javier Alejandre has one son who is serving with the Spanish Special Forces and one daughter, maintaining the engineering tradition as a company commander in the Spanish Airborne Brigade.

2016 Concept Development and Experimentation conference to Showcase Adaptation and Innovation in Dynamic Environment

October 6th, 2016 – NORFOLK, VA – This November, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation is hosting the 2016 Concept Development and Experimentation Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria in order to Adapt and Innovate in a Dynamic Environment.

161005wtop02 400161005wtop01 400The Conference is led by NATO’s Allied Command Transformation and provides a unique opportunity for the international community to discuss the most current issues of concept development and experimentation in support of capability development. The conference objectives include creating an environment conducive to information sharing and networking, partner building and trust building— all of which are necessary to contribute to defence innovation.

The Command hosted one of the moderators of the conference, JJ Green of WTOP 103.5FM in Washington, DC, on October 5th to situate him on these issues and familiarize him with the conference concepts. Here are his thoughts on the pressing international security issues:

“The first thing I want to point out is that many people in the U.S. do not know that there is a NATO headquarters here in the US. I want to talk about what NATO does, who they work with, and how their engagement with the rest of the world proliferates results. It’s rare to have the opportunity to engage with NATO. When I’m moderating the panel discussion my objective will be to let people know just how urgent it is to have an organization like NATO’s Allied Command Transformation performing at a high level — when you consider all the things that are going on around the world.”

Green said the three main elements of this discussion will be hybrid warfare, European security challenges and cyber security. When asked how he thought the conversation might evolve, Green said Russia would be an obvious part of this conversation but that his main goal was to give panellists the opportunity to share the expert wisdom and knowledge they developed by working with NATO over the years.

Green said that many people think of NATO as purely a military organization stressing that there is much more to the organization that most people don’t know about. “I can engage people, find out about their stories during the panel discussion and conversationally talk to people about what they’re for NATO ACT and why what’s important.”

NATO Rules of Engagement Go Virtual

September 29th, 2016 – NORFOLK, VA – On September 26th, 2016, a local Newport News company, C2 Technologies, won an international competition to develop a prototype serious game to teach Rules of Engagement to NATO soldiers. The award of the contract, valued at $108,000 with a short 13-week game development plan, is indicative the progress that can be achieved when government and industry collaborate. From NATO’s perspective, this technology provides essential training for NATO troops to ensure the safety of civilians wherever they operate.

160926roe400“These types of projects are used widely in our industry to both reach students and to teach them how to navigate unfamiliar environments. In this way, the platform is similar to the flight simulators that pilots use to learn to fly,” said Lieutenant General Jeffrey Lofgren USAF, who is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation. “We’re proud to partner with local industry to create this vital product.”

With the exception of self-defence, during peacetime and operations prior to the commencement of an armed conflict, Rules of Engagement provide the sole authority for NATO-led troops to use force. The NATO Rules of Engagement game will provide users a safe means in which to test their knowledge of the rules, practice decision making, and learn from the consequences of their decisions.

Similar to a highly advanced form of first person action game available in the public domain, the software ensures realism, with scenarios developed to be as close to real life as possible. This includes everything from getting orders and being flown into a theatre of operations to carrying out their work in a theatre of operations such as conducting patrols. C2 Technologies has successfully completed similar work for the US Army Judge Advocate General.

Situated in Norfolk since 1952, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation is the only NATO Command in the United States. The Command brings together military personnel from 26 of the 28 NATO nations to contribute to international security and international stability. The Command is estimated to contribute $100 million to the local economy every year.

The Multinational Aviation Training Centre is an Official NATO Resource

160929matc01 400160921europe02160921europe03September 29th, 2016 – The establishment of a working relationship between NATO and the Multinational Aviation Training Centre was made official on 29 September with the signing of a functional Memorandum of Understanding at Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

TIDE: Working on tomorrow’s interoperability challenges, today

At the recent Summit in Warsaw, NATO leaders recognised the growing importance of Cyber Defence to the future security of the Alliance and declared that Cyber would join Land, Maritime, Air and Space as a ‘domain‘.

SACT’s visits in Europe

160921europe01160921europe02160921europe03From September 19th to 23rd, General Denis Mercier visited Montenegro and Romania for official country visits, as well as France, in order to deliver his vision of transformation to high-level military and civilian students.

Military Committee Conference in Split

160916mccs01 400160916mccs02 400160916mccs03 400General Mercier and NATO chiefs of defense met during the Military Committee conference in Split, just two months after the NATO Warsaw Summit.

NATO Defence Councillors visit

160912defcons400160913defcons400NORFOLK, VA – Against the backdrop of an increasingly complex and challenging European security landscape, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation recently hosted 25 Allied Defence Councillors to discuss future security and closer cooperation between NATO and the European Union.

2016 Gender Perspectives Seminar

160907gender400NATO’s Allied Command Transformation is hosting a Gender Perspectives Seminar in coordination with the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations. This two-day seminar focuses on how to work with gender perspectives in a military and security environment and how these perspectives will contribute to achieving the overall political, military, strategic and operational objectives.

Allied Command Transformation is 3rd Amongst the Top 100 Global Companies for its e-Learning Programme

160826thurkettle400Allied Command Transformation is the 3rd best public sector employer in e-Learning Magazine’s 2016 review of the top 100 e-Learning companies.

Assumption of Command Ceremony at NATO’s JALLC

160819jallc400Monsanto, Portugal – For the first time since its inception, the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC) in Monsanto, Portugal, will be headed by a Portuguese General: on August 19th, 2016, Brigadier-General Mário Barreto, Portuguese Air Force, received the command of the Centre.

ACT and ODU Innovative Approach to Support Cyber Coalition

160819cc02 250Cyber Coalition (CC) is a NATO Cyber Defense Exercise planned and conducted by the Allied Command Transformation (ACT) under the governance of the Military Committee.

NATO and Defence Industry Shape the Future Security Environment

160726niag01 400NORFOLK, VA – Leading thinkers from Allied Command Transformation and industry gathered on July 26th and 27th to analyse the future of NATO’s communications, strategy, logistics and industrial capabilities.

JWC welcomes new Commander Brigadier General Andrzej Reudowicz

160721jwc cocPolish Army Brigadier General Andrzej Reudowicz assumed command of NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) on July 21st 2016, replacing German Army Major General Reinhard Wolski who has served as the Centre’s Commander since 24 September 2014.

German Army General in Lead of the Joint Force Training Centre

160720jftc cocMajor General Wilhelm Grün, German Army, has become the new Commander of the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC). He assumed the position on 20 July, replacing Brigadier General Wojciech Grabowski, who has led the institution since December 2013.

General Mercier Attends the NATO Summit in Poland

160708summit400Warsaw—Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) Gen. Denis Mercier attended the NATO Summit held July 8 and 9, which was a key milestone for the Alliance, heads of state and government officials to demonstrate their commitment to strengthening the Alliance.

NATO ACT Strengthens Bond with University of Bologna

160630mnc01 400FORLI, ITALY. Staff from NATO ACT Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (SPP), led by Mr Dick Bedford, Strategic Issues and Engagement Branch Head, played a very active role in a joint NATO/University of Bologna Summer Workshop and NATO Model Event over the past week.

Exercise boosts NATO intelligence-sharing ahead of Summit

160629uv16 400The Alliance’s ability to share and process complex intelligence was significantly improved through Unified Vision, a major ‘trial’ managed by Allied Command Transformation and NATO Headquarters in the context of NATO’s Joint Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, 14 – 29 June.

Supporting Medical Doctrine Review Through Experimentation

160625medsup400NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) Medical Branch conducted a NATO Medical Support Limited Objective Experiment (LOE) at the NATO School, in Oberammergau, Germany, 22 – 24 June 2016.

SACT country visit to Finland

160620finland 250General Denis Mercier recently visited Finland, a very important partner to NATO. He was welcomed by General Jarmo Lindberg, Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, in the Karelia Air Command Headquarters, located in Savonia.

During the visit, General Mercier was taken for a flight in a Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet, proving the interoperability of the Finnish Defence Forces with NATO. General Mercier followed up this visit with office calls in Helsinki with the Finnish Minister of Defence Permanent Secretary, Jukka Juusti and the under Secretary of State for Foreign and Security Affairs, Ann Sipilainen, where the key theme of the meetings was to highlight the importance of Finland’s partnership with the Alliance.

The participation of Finland in NATO’s next major live exercise, Trident Juncture 18, was also discussed. The visit was a great success and will contribute to strengthen the links between Finland and NATO.

High Ranking NATO Senior Officials visit CWIX

160624ims400Bydgoszcz, Poland, June 23rd, 2016. Many NATO and national dignitaries visited CWIX to receive updates on how the exercise improves the Alliance through interoperability.

SACT visits Resolute Support Mission

160618rsm01 250Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Denis Mercier recently visited the NATO Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan.

It was an excellent opportunity to update his picture of Afghanistan and share his visions with General John Nicholson, Commander RSM and US Forces in Afghanistan.

160618rsm02 250General Nicholson and his staff gave a frank and clear assessment of the security situation and the achievements and challenges of the Mission. SACT also witnessed the progress of the Afghan authorities in taking more ownership in planning and conducting operations, the progress in building and maintaining the Afghan special forces capability, and the Officers Academy, which was built and developed with the continued assistance of the Alliance.

This visit will assist ACT with supporting ACO in further tailoring the Mission, particularly in the critical areas of training and education.

ACT Chief of Staff addresses Key Leader Seminar on Gender

160621cos250On June 20, 2016 Supreme Allied Command Transformation Chief of Staff, Air Marshal Graham Stacey delivered a lecture at the Key Leader Seminar on Gender.

The Seminar, held in Sweden on 20-21 June 2016, has been organized by the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations, the Department Head for gender in military operations training and education within the NATO structure. Air Marshall Stacey’s talk was transmitted to Sweden through video conference system thanks to the Innovation Hub at the Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia.

Key Leader Seminars on Gender are directed to Flag Officers, Key Leaders (senior leaders or senior Non-Commissioned Officers), Ambassadors or senior Civilian Representatives. The main aim of the Seminars is to increase key leaders’ knowledge on how to integrate gender perspectives into operations planning, execution and evaluation at strategic and operational level.

During his lecture, Air Marshall Stacey referred to his professional experiences, reiterating the significance of leadership’s engagement in promoting integration of gender perspective in the military operations at the same time calling for a broader involvement of the middle-management military personnel. He acknowledged the importance of the Women, Peace and Security agenda but underlined that it is its operationalization which remains critical for military operations, because it brings tangible actions to the table.

While recognizing that much has already been done in terms of the integration of gender perspective within NATO, Air Marshal Stacey also pointed out areas for further improvement, including a higher percentage of women in a NATO military structure. In this context, the appointment of the first female Commander at the Joint Force Command Naples, Admiral Michelle Howard from the US Navy was highlighted as a big step forward and an example to follow.

Air Marshal Stacey also emphasized that the integration of gender perspective in the military operations will not bring positive results unless implemented by the Commander with a full support of and commitment from all the staff. At Allied Command Transformation level, Air Marshall Stacey stressed the importance of education and training, bringing as an example exercise Trident Juncture 2015, where gender dimensions were fully developed in the scenario and played an important role in the conduct of exercises. Air Marshall Stacey also mentioned the Human Capital area, which is one of the six priority areas identified by the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation for further improvement. According to Air Marshall Stacey, it is crucial that all Deputies Chief of Staff and Assistants Chief of Staff take integration of gender perspective seriously by implementing it across their areas of interest and thus contributing to Human Capital with positive actions within the organization.

The Key Leader Seminar continued on June 21, 2016 with further presentations, including one from Supreme Allied Command Transformation Gender Advisor Major Stephanie Nicol. Major Nicol examined integration of gender perspective at the strategic level, with strong emphasis on the importance of education and training, which constitute the most important tool in changing people’s mindsets.

NATO and European Union: Complementarity and collaboration in capability development

160616eda400The NATO-EU Capability Group, established in 2003, addresses common capability shortfalls and ensures the coherence and mutual reinforcement of NATO and EU capability development efforts.

CWIX: Improving the Alliance through Interoperability

160614cwix01 400Interoperability, or the ability for multinational units to act together, is the foundation for all NATO operations. CWIX allows NATO and Partner Nations to test, verify and improve it.

NATO Language Leadership Passes from Marshall Center’s PLTCE to Bulgaria Ministry of Defense

160608marshallcenterLeadership of NATO’s advisory body on language training and testing issues, the Bureau for International Language Coordination (BILC) changed hands from the George C. Marshall European Center’s Partner Language Training Center Europe (PLTCE) to the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense at the 50th Anniversary Conference of the BILC in Riga, Latvia, 22-26 May 2016.

The Marshall Center’s PLTCE held the chair and secretary position for the past two years.

“We are very proud of the work BILC has accomplished over the years. What is more significant is that the BILC Secretariat will be guided by Bulgaria, one of the newer NATO nations which joined the alliance in 2004,” said Keith Wert, director of PLTCE.

Standardized language skills in the alliance are vital for military interoperability in the NATO alliance and Partnership for Peace nations. BILC exists to grow and strengthen cooperative professional support within the field of language proficiency, language training and education, and language testing.

“The BILC Secretariat runs the organization on behalf of the steering committee which is composed of NATO members. This includes representing the language consortium at several NATO Training Group meetings; acting as a language training and testing advisor to NATO Allied Command Transformation and the annual Training Synchronization Conference, as well as organizing conferences, seminars, workshops and participating on teams that assist various country language programs,” said Wert.

According to Wert, many PLTCE programs at the Marshall Center are developed and conducted under the BILC community umbrella and eligible partner nation participants receive subsidies from NATO to attend the courses. PLTCE offers a Language Testing Seminar, Advanced Language Testing Seminar, Language Standards and Assessment Seminar and English Teaching Faculty Development Workshop in conjunction with BILC and its expert adjunct facilitators.

The change of leadership took place during the BILC 50th Anniversary conference which was hosted by the MoD of Latvia. Eighty-seven military and civilian language training and testing professionals attended from 35 countries. There were representatives from NATO HQ International Military Staff and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. Brigadier General Dzintars Roga from NATO Allied Command Transformation delivered the keynote address. There were twenty-eight presentations and four study groups related to the theme: “From Goals to Outcomes: Measuring Success.” Gérard Seinhorst from the Netherlands presentated the history of BILC detailing its rise from a “old NATO boy’s club” to the highly diverse, multinational and accomplished professional organization it is today. A few indications of BILC’s accomplishments would include the attendance of over 700 teachers and testers at BILC professional development courses hosted at the Marshall Center/PLTCE; the multiple visits by BILC teams of experts to seventeen NATO and partner countries to conduct reviews of defense sponsored language training and testing processes as well as to deliver tailored professional development opportunities for faculty and staff members; and the complete rewrite of NATO Standardized Agreement 6001 Language Proficiency Levels, the cornerstone of NATO language interoperability.

On the last evening, Latvian MoD Undersecretary of State Ilona Dreģe hosted the formal dinner at the renovated and just reopened Latvian National Museum of Art with perceptive characterizations of BILC’s polity and meaning. It was quite a birthday party.

More information about BILC can be found online at:

More information about the Marshall Center’s PLTCE program can be found online at:

NATO ACT commemorates D-Day 72nd Anniversary

160606d dayOn June 6, 1944 in Normandy, France, Allied Forces commenced Operation Overlord, also known as D-Day, the largest invasion ever involving more than 5,000 ships, 13,000 aircraft and more than 150,000 service men. More than 9,000 servicemen were killed or wounded during this battle.

Seventy two years later, the Alliance still remembers the sacrifices of those service members who changed the tide of the war breaking the Axis stronghold in Western Europe.

News media television crew from CNN visits the HQ

160606cnn400A news media television crew from CNN visited the Headquarters of Supreme Allied Command Transformation on May 9th to gather in-depth information, perspectives and explanations on how this command helps prepare NATO to face current and future threats in the 21st century.

Annual Discipline Conference on Gender Education and Training

160530adc250aThe Annual Discipline Conference for the Gender in Military Operations discipline was held in Brussels on Monday May 30, 2016. The Conference, which gathered 45 participants representing 22 nations was conducted by the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations – the Department Head for the NATO gender-related education and training. The NATO Secretary General Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, Marriët Schuurman as well as NATO Gender Advisors, including the HQ Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Gender Advisor Major Stephanie Nicol also attended the Conference.

The event is organised annually to review, update and validate the Gender training requirements, to present the current landscape for gender-related training and to identify gaps, and provide priorities and the way ahead for the further development of an Education and Training Programme for the Gender discipline. The Conference also constitutes a platform to exchange experiences and best practices concerning the education and training, particularly when it comes to NATO Joint Strategic Exercises.

“It is time not only to institutionalize but to internalize gender perspective, making our organisation more effective”

Amb. Marriët Schuurman

During the 2016 Annual Discipline Conference, the SHAPE Gender Advisor acting as a Requirements Authority underlined the importance of all Gender Advisors being trained in NATO core areas of activity, namely: self-defence, crisis management and cooperative security. In addition, it was stressed that more attention should be paid to subjects related to gender equality and analytical skills, especially when it comes to analysis of early warnings, horizon scanning and crisis identification. On top of that, it was emphasized that all education and training on Conflict-Related Sexual and Gender Based Violence, and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse should be delivered in accordance with NATO Guidelines.

As part of the efforts to meet NATO requirements, representatives of four nations expressed the willingness to develop the education and training courses on integration of gender in the military operations.

The 2016 Annual Discipline Conference created a forum for creative discussions on NATO education and training concerning gender, and provided participants with an opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices.

General Mercier visit to Estonia

160527estonia1 250From May 24th to 26th, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Denis Mercier made an official visit to Estonia, where he was welcomed with military honours by Lieutenant General Riho Terras, Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces.

During the visit, SACT had the opportunity to participate in working meetings with Mr. Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of Estonian Parliament, Mr. Hannes Hanso, Minister of Defence, and Mr. Taavi Rõivas, Prime Minister of Estonia. During those meetings, General Mercier gained a clear understanding of how Estonian armed forces have progressed in the conduct of an important Transformational process since their NATO accession in 2004.

General Mercier was also invited to visit the Baltic Defence College by its Commandant, Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras where SACT addressed the students of the Higher Command Studies Course as well as those of the Joint Command and General Staff Course and the members of the Baltic Defence College Faculty. During his presentation, in reviewing the development and adaptation of the Alliance, SACT highlighted the threats NATO is facing today are not new, but the difference is their concurrence, complexity and interrelated nature which is challenging us. SACT also underlined that since its foundation NATO has managed to adapt and face every security challenge, and will continue to do so.

160527estonia2 250The strong commitment of Estonia to the Alliance posture, with assets like the NATO Force Integration Unit and the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence established in Tallin were also the focus of SACT’s attention during his visit.

General Mercier and NATO Chiefs of Defence meet ahead of Warsaw Summit

160518 01 400General Denis Mercier, with General Petr Pavel, CMC, and General Curtis Scaparotti, SACEUR, met the NATO Chiefs of Defence (CHoDs) on 18th May for the last Military Committee meeting before the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July.

Allied Command Transformation reaches out to technology leaders at ITEC 2016

160517itec01 400More than 130 exhibitors from 55 countries, including NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT), occupied the west end of the massive Excel Arena in London, U.K. to showcase their latest products and innovations available to the defence training and simulation market May 17th – 19th.

Norway’s State Secretary for Defence visits HQ SACT

160520nor sos250Norway’s State Secretary for Defence, Mr. Øystein Bø, visited Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT) on Friday 20 May 2016. He was hosted by Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Admiral Manfred Nielson and Chief of Staff, Air Marshal Graham Stacey.

The group discussed ACT’s mission and roles, the NATO Defence Planning Process, the preparation of the Warsaw Summit as well as the Trident Juncture Exercise 18. Furthermore, the discussions also addressed innovative and future visions and how to enhance synchronization with regional capabilities and cooperation to respond swiftly to new security challenges.

Latvian Minister of Defence visits ACT

160518lva250Latvian Minister of Defence Mr. Raimonds Bergmanis receives an official greeting from Allied Command Transformation senior staff prior to meeting with Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Adm. Manfred Nielson on May 18.

During the visit the two leaders discussed items including Allied Command Transformation’s focus areas and preparations for the Warsaw Summit in July. Visits of this nature are common and provide opportunities for NATO leaders to discuss mission requirements and issues facing the Alliance.

General Mercier visits “VAW120”

160513vaw01 250General Denis Mercier, NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation (SACT) recently visited “VAW120”, the US Navy squadron that flies and trains Naval Aviators, Naval Flight Officers, and Naval Aircrew to safely and effectively operate E-2C and C-2A aircraft, preparing them to join the fleet. VAW-120 is based out of Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Norfolk, Va.

This was the opportunity for him to be briefed on all capacities of the E-2 variants, during a visit to the squadron which was followed by a flight above the US East Coast. During the 2 hour flight, the crew showed SACT the forward alert and command and control capacities of the aircraft. Command and Control is indeed, one of Allied Command Transformation’s “Focus Areas” and it has great importance to the effectiveness of NATO, the only international organization with a permanent command and control structure.

160513vaw02 250The flight was also the occasion for Commander Evan L. Morrison, Skipper of “VAW120”, to reinforce the links between the military community of the biggest naval base in the World and the Headquarters responsible for the Transformation of NATO.

ACT and the NATO Industrial Advisory Group discuss role of Industry in amplifying NATO capability and posture

160512niag01 400On 11-12 May 2016 and for the first time in Norfolk (VA), the NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG) held its plenary session at Headquarters Allied Command Transformation (ACT). The focus of the discussions was on how to further strengthen the Alliance’s capabilities.

Accelerating Warnings to Populations during a Ballistic Missile Attack

160429caoc ops 400NATO HQ Situation Centre (SITCEN), Belgium – Allied Command Transformation (ACT) personnel conducted a controlled investigation as part of the Combined Air and Missile Defence Exercise 2016 (CAMDEX 16) and multinational Steadfast Alliance Exercises (SFAE) from 25 – 29 April 2016.

A little rain fails to dampen the spirit of NATOFest 2016

160422nnf400North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allied Command Transformation (ACT) enjoyed another installment of the Norfolk NATO Festival weekend April 22-23 in Downtown Norfolk, Virginia.

Source: NATO

 L. J. De Rothschild                                                                               

      Senior Editor

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Karl William

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