The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a joint multinational force capable of providing rapid military response during times of crisis. The Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), a "spearhead force" within the NRF, contains over 5,000 multinational forces capable of deploying within two or three days. During Brilliant Jump, the NRF and the VJTF were evaluated on their ability to deploy large numbers of equipment and troops to Norway.
Alert and deploy
Directed by Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Brunssum, NATO forces in France, Italy, Poland and Spain received a NATO alert order to prepare for a mission with only a few days to deploy.
"Enterprise CIS issues that arise are solved by the Agency, but additional support kicks in during the deployment phase of the exercise when the NRF mission network gets deployed," said Hannes Chang, NCI Agency Project Manager for the exercise.
In addition to the continuous support provided to JFC Brunssum, the Agency supplied the exercises with a deployable mission network, the NRF22, which was used by JFC Brunssum to communicate with the NATO Response Force and direct them during the deployment portion of the exercises.
Agency teams helped the exercise participants, who are from different military specializations, to work together in a cohesive and efficient manner. They ensured that the communications systems, satellite and logistics applications needed to command and control the NATO forces were stable and secure throughout the exercise.
To guarantee that the exercises' objectives are met without interruption, several of the Agency's CIS Support Units (CSU) and their technicians are providing extended on-site support to the applications and resolving incoming IT support tickets.
"As a Support Unit and as an Agency, we strive to ensure that our customers are always satisfied and that the need for CIS capabilities are always met so that NATO entities are always operationally ready," said Jakub Rybinski, Staff Officer of Exercises at the Agency's CIS Support Unit in Brunssum.
Exercise Cold Response
The NATO Response Force deployed to Norway, where exercise Brilliant Jump concluded on 17 March. NATO forces have also been invited to take part in Cold Response, a bi-annual Norwegian Armed Forces live training exercise that began on 14 March and will conclude on 1 April.
Deployed naval, air and land personnel from 27 Nations arrived in the south-eastern, central and the northern parts of Norway, where they are participating in a NATO Article 5 training scenario under challenging Arctic conditions. Article 5 of NATO's founding treaty is a collective defence clause that states that if a NATO Ally is attacked, the act shall be perceived as an attack against every member of the Alliance.
Exercise Cold Response enhances the readiness, capability and interoperability of NATO Allies and Partner Nations.
Both exercises utilize the NCI Agency's new Enterprise Service Operations Centre (ESOC), which provides NATO forces with support for technology ranging from computer networks to satellite and radio communications. The new ESOC allows Agency experts to support NATO's technology in a more collaborative manner, a feature that is being leveraged during the exercises.
"The ESOC is a central part of the quality of support provided within the NCI Agency. We help ensure that everything that can happen to impact or prevent missions will be resolved quickly," said Florent Huguet, Exercise Systems Coordinator at the ESOC.
In addition to measuring and reaffirming the deployment capabilities and readiness of NATO forces, these exercises also enhance the NCI Agency's internal collaboration.
All of the various facets of the Agency involved in the exercises work together, maintaining open lines of communication to ensure that technology and services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.