From 9 to 21 September, Commander Joint Force Training Centre deployed to the National Defence Academy of Latvia in Riga, to execute with the exercise control team of nearly 100 subject matter experts for the Exercises Steadfast Pyramid and Steadfast Pinnacle 2018 under the leadership of Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

The purpose of the two week-long exercises is to prepare senior commanders and their staffs to lead during the planning, preparation and conduct of current and future operations within NATO. Steadfast Pyramid focuses on training senior staff officers, whereas Steadfast Pinnacle is geared towards higher-level commanders. Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) General Sir James Everard briefed both groups of exercise participants at the academy.

Major General Wilhelm Grün, left, the Joint Force Training Centre Commander, and Brigadier General Imants Ziediņš, centre, the Latvian Deputy Chief of Staff Support and Senior Host Nation Representative, greet Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Sir James Everard as he arrives at the National Defence Academy of Latvia during Exercise Steadfast Pyramid 2018. NATO photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Dodge

“Exercises Steadfast Pyramid and Steadfast Pinnacle’s aim is to first inform and educate senior commanders and staff officers on the challenges we face today,” said Everard, who oversaw the scheduling of the exercises. “They also allow participants to refresh their thinking in terms of operational design, planning and decision making.”

2018 marks the first year in which JFTC has prepared and conducted the annual exercises, which are now in their 23rd iteration. Until 2018, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation based in Norfolk, Virginia, had shouldered the responsibility of leading the exercises.

Major General Wilhelm Grün, centre, the Joint Force Training Centre Commander, addresses Exercise Steadfast Pinnacle 2018 participants at the National Defence Academy of Latvia. NATO photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Dodge

“For the first time in the history of this exercise series, JFTC has been tasked with its execution,” said Major General Wilhelm Grün, Commander, JFTC and “Officer Conducting the Exercise”. “Our staff, along with tremendous support from Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir James Everard, the “Officer Scheduling the Exercise” and his team from Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Allied Command Transformation, Joint Force Command Naples, Joint Analysis & Lessons Learned Centre, the Host Nation Latvia and the experienced exercise senior mentor, have been working tirelessly for a year to provide realistic scenario based training, engaging curriculum and priceless networking opportunities within the NATO.”

Exercise Steadfast Pinnacle 2018 participants and facilitators attend a welcoming brief. NATO photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Dodge

This year, 58 participants from more than 15 partner nations joined the exercises. Each week the teams spent time learning from the Senior Mentor, retired General Egon Ramms, and from the subject matter experts. The teams were also asked to respond to various scenario-based, real-world issues focused on NATO interests.

Retired General Egon Ramms, left, the Exercise Steadfast Pyramid and Steadfast Pinnacle Senior Mentor, greets Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Sir James Everard as he arrives at the National Defence Academy of Latvia for Exercise Steadfast Pinnacle 2018. NATO photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Dodge

The exercises concluded on September 21 with both the Pyramid and Pinnacle groups holding reviews and lessons learned. Riga is currently scheduled to host the annual exercise through 2023.

Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Sir James Everard, centre, poses for a group photo with Exercise Steadfast Pyramid 2018 staff and participants at the National Defence Academy of Latvia. NATO photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Dodge