The Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) has just completed the first 2022 training event. From 17 to 28 January, another group of future members of the NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) received their final pre-deployment training. As the pandemic is still a serious threat, the event was planned as blended with week one devoted for the academic phase and week two for the practical phase and academic briefing.

JFTC conducted the first blended pre-deployment training in autumn 2021 using the experience and observations from previous months, affected with the pandemic. NATO demonstrated its ability to adapt and adjust to the ever-changing environment. It also turned out to be a perfect solution for the current crisis time. In addition, the blended execution facilitates a wider participation despite the pandemic restrictions.

Not only did the redesigned pre-deployment training provide future NMI staff members and advisors with information on the operational environment, to include plans, core processes, or different aspects of the mission, but also offered a chance to verify and develop knowledge and skills through exercises.

Execution of such a robust and demanding training would not have been possible without support of experts with up-to-date experience.

“We could not do it alone”, said Major General Norbert Wagner, JFTC Commander, addressing the participants at the beginning of the residential part of the training. “We receive invaluable support from the NATO Mission Iraq, the Iraqi authorities, the Joint Force Command Naples, NCIA technicians, analysts from the U.S. Navy, and most of all from recently redeployed subject matter experts with their priceless insight on the situation in Iraq and the allied mission”, said General Wagner thanking all stakeholders for their contribution to the success of the training.

During the closing ceremony also Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, NMI Commander, recognised efforts of all personnel engaged in the execution of the NMI pre-deployment training. Addressing the participants, LGEN Lollesgaard highlighted the importance of soldiers’ participation in the pre-deployment training before they arrived in Iraq.

The main goal of the NMI pre-deployment training is to provide the NMI Commander with uniformly trained personnel, able to function effectively within a NATO-led mission from day one. The next iteration is planned for April 2022.