Exercise Steadfast Jazz concluded successfully on Nov. 8 after two weeks of intense multinational joint military training in locations across Europe. About 6,000 personnel from 28 NATO member nations as well as three-partner nations (Sweden, Finland and Ukraine) trained together in a combined multinational setting.
Joint Force Command Brunssum Headquarters succeeded in meeting a host of demanding training objectives and will be officially certified at a future ceremony to lead potential NATO Response Force missions in 2014.
“As the ISAF mission winds down, NATO’s challenge is to maintain the cohesiveness and compatibility it has achieved through the years,” said Commander Joint Force Command Brunssum, General Hans-Lothar Domrӧse. “Exercise Steadfast Jazz was an important step in building and maintaining that high level of effectiveness and interoperability,” he said.
According to NATO, its Response Force is the ‘tip of the spear’ in terms of NATO’s ability to respond to an emerging crisis, which is why realistic and demanding exercises like Steadfast Jazz are essential in maintaining and enhancing the effectiveness of Allied deployable forces.
“The multinational soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that I saw during the exercise demonstrated an exceptionally high level of skill and prowess,” said General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe. “The opportunity for troops from 28 different member nations, along with Alliance partners, to train and operate together is invaluable. Steadfast Jazz is what NATO is all about, our ability to defend ourselves together with a high-level of skill and effectiveness,” he added.
“Steadfast Jazz was based on a scenario that allows NATO forces to train for all possible missions the Alliance might face,” said Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Jean-Paul Palomeros. “A wide variety of scenarios were added to the exercise including humanitarian missions, cyber defense, anti-missile defense, and collective defense operations. Realistic, combined multinational training helps ensure that the Alliance is prepared to meet the threats of the future,” he said.
While headquarters staffs wrestled with ‘big-picture’ operational challenges, NATO troops deployed in the sea, land, and air honed their abilities to work together in a comprehensive multinational environment. Naval vessels deployed in the Baltic Sea, aircraft took to the skies of central Europe, and land forces participated in a live exercise in western Poland. The exercise culminated in a firepower demonstration attended by senior NATO officials, members of the diplomatic corps and invited observers from Russia and China.
“I am fully satisfied that our combined joint force met all of our training objectives, and I commend all the troops that were under my command for a job well done,” said General Domrӧse. I would also like to thank Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania for the outstanding support they provided to the exercise over the past number of months. Without their efforts, resources, and hospitality we would not have been able to achieve the results that we see today,” he added.
Exercise Steadfast Jazz was designed to test and certify elements of the NATO Response Force, which is the Alliance’s quick reaction force of up to 13,000 troops, which can be deployed anywhere, in different configurations, to perform a wide range of missions all on short notice.
“NATO military commanders will now turn their attention to capitalizing on the lessons, experience and knowledge gained from Exercise Steadfast Jazz to ensure that the Alliance continues to build upon its capabilities, interoperability, and experience. NATO will conduct several exercises in 2014 to certify NRF forces and headquarters, and will conduct a significant combined live exercise in 2015,” NATO ACO said in a release.
Press Release, November 11, 2013; Image: NATO ACO