On 6-8 March 2018, the NCI Agency Education & Training Service Line hosted its first training class, the NATO Functional Area Service (FAS) Overview Course, at its new interim facilities in Oeiras (PRT), at the same location where the future NCI Academy building is being constructed.
This three-day course was delivered by NCI Agency Operational Analysis (OA) Service Line (SL) and Command and Control (C2) SL instructors to 12 course attendees representing ESP, GBR, GRE, HUN, ITA and POL.
About the NATO FAS Overview Course
The course consists of an initial overview generic brief, followed by a more detailed brief for each of the 11 FAS that comprise the NATO Software Tools (NST) Communications and Information Partnership (C&IP) project baseline and relate to the military Operations, Intelligence, Logistics and Plans military functions.
"It is imperative that the military user community understand how the NATO FAS combine as force multiplier to process support, situational awareness and decision making support", stresses Pedro Albano (OA SL), who delivered the training together with Rodrigo Leal (C2 SL).
The initial brief focuses on the "big picture" and highlights the key processes supported by the FAS, with particular emphasis placed on their operational added value – the "why" the FAS is employed. Further, this brief lays the foundation of how an HQ may be put together from the point of view of the HQ communities of interest that employ the FAS to support their associated processes.
This is followed by individual FAS briefs where greater detail is provided covering background, operational capability, processes supported, operational architecture, operational deployment, interfaces and features. These individual FAS briefs are supported by a practical demonstration, culminating in a final one that ties all the FASs together through a carefully arranged vignette. This enables the course attendees to visualise the integration of the FAS through information flow and hence the processes support.
Overall, the course capitalises upon the experiences gained from operational training and mentoring support through to requirements capture activities for the Resolute Support (RS), the previous International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Kosovo Force (KFOR) missions, as well as numerous NATO exercises and training events.The course is conducted within the umbrella of the NST Communications and Information Partnership (C&IP) project, and under the auspices of the NCI Agency Education & Training Service Line. It was designed by the OA SL (operational aspects) and the C2 SL (technical aspects) to meet an NST C&IP project objective of enabling students with the knowledge to explain and describe the background, operational use, architecture and the key capabilities for each NST NATO FAS.
Evaluation of the course
At the end of course, all students receive Certificates of Attendance and are asked to provide feedback – a crucial tool for any potential improvements.
At this first edition, the course instructors were praised on multiple occasion for their depth of knowledge and understanding of military processes (despite not being ex-military), which is a clear vindication of the level of understanding by the Agency and its employees of the military domain and the ability to speak their language and understand the issues faced by the military in 21st century.
The combination of a great team of skilled and knowledgeable people combining together at a great location certainly contributed to the success of this course.