Hosted by the NATO Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) and CSU Stavanger, Norway, the first iteration of Trident Jaguar 2018 (TRJR18-1) - a joint headquarters operational exercise testing the Alliance's military capacity and readiness - successfully concluded in May 2018. An Allied Command Transformation sponsored exercise, TRIDENT JAGUAR 2018 aimed at training and evaluating Multinational Joint Headquarters Ulm and their attached Joint Logistics Support Group (JLSG) to plan and conduct land-heavy Non-Article 5 Small Joint Crisis Response Operations under direct command of SACEUR.
As many as 550 Training Audience (TA) and 350 Exercise Control (EXCON) participants took part in the Command Post Exercise – a computer assisted simulation with no live fire or maneuver exercises associated - held at the JWC training facility, with bunker facilities at Jaatta used for EXCON instead. The Joint Warfare Centre developed the complex, fictitious exercise scenario SKOLKAN 2.0 to stimulate the Training Audience for cooperation and coordination, across all domains. The two-level Command Post Exercise allowed JWC to simulate, in real time, different conditions in the computer-based scenario, and enhance the processes and concepts being tested in the exercise.
First iteration of TRIDENT JAGUAR 2018: a rough start turned into a success
NCI Agency CSU Stavanger provided crucial support throughout this first half of the exercise. Key provisions included core services, the "normal mix" of NATO Response Force type Command & Control (C2) and Community of Interest (COI) systems, to include 2 SIGINT COINS installations, a total of 8 VTC suites (including 3 deployable kits from NCI Agency CIS Sustainment Support Centre), and infrastructure to support reach back to a German national system. Despite a few difficulties faced by the team at the offset, which hindered timely deliveries, CSU successfully pulled itself together, and towards the end of the Communication test exercise (COMMEX) the status lights were again at its expected green. Throughout the exercise a total of 151 incidents were responded to and resolved, 291 Request for Changes managed and implemented, 2790 user accounts created on 3 different networks.
TRIDENT JAGUAR 2018 also revealed the vulnerability we face when dealing with such complex, multi-site infrastructure supported events. As the exercise was conducted over extended days, weekends and public holidays, having support personnel available at many sites turned out to be very difficult. This added to several incidents which hindered e-mail exchanges across domains and the access to a number of COI services through the central gateways for several days.
All in all, however, the CSU proved to be a reliable service provider, whose assistance was a key contribution to TRJR18-1 success. As noted by US Navy Cdr Patrick Boyce, JWC's Deputy Officer of Primary Responsibility for TRIDENT JAGUAR 2018, indeed, "key training objectives were met, so that's a major success […] in NATO's overall readiness."
Ready for round II
The second phase of the exercise, with NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Greece (NRDC GR) as Training Audience, begun on 2 June. Unlike TRJR18-1, conducted in Stavanger in its entirety, the exercise now covers three locations – with the JLSG in Sindos and NRDC GR at Assiros, both of them near Thessaloniki, in Greece. The Joint Warfare Centre is present in Assiros as well, with an EXCON Forward element.
For this exercise, the NRDC GR also use their C2 system JSDEP which is also accessible via web in Stavanger. At this moment, most services are being provided with success. In a distributed exercise of this kind, however, communication challenges are again likely to affect both the exercise performance and the quality of the service provision.
For more information on TRIDENT JAGUAR 2018 please refer to the JWC's website.