Virtual academic phase and residential practical phase – for the first time the Joint Force Training Centre merged these two methods of conducting training during one event. The second 2021 - refreshed and redesigned - NATO Mission Iraq Pre-Deployment Training, concluded today.


As the focal point of NATO pre-deployment training, the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) is constantly adapting to new demands, developing its methodology and adjusting to ever-changing environment. Using the experience and observations from recent months, marked with the pandemic, the Centre executed its first ever blended pre-deployment training. With close to 100 participants in the virtual academic phase of the event and  more than 50 trainees who took part in the residential practical phase, the Centre finalised another round of preparations for future members of the NATO Mission Iraq. The event took place between 11 and 22 October.

“Our intent is to provide you with the best possible preparation for your mission” – said Major General Norbert Wagner, the JFTC Commander, addressing the participants. “We will provide you with an overview of the mission, some insights from the theatre, a little bit of cultural awareness and the current situation in Iraq. The residential phase will give you the opportunity to interact, to practice new skills and to start teambuilding”. The General also added: “The situation in Iraq is very dynamic, therefore please, remain flexible”.

Execution of this comprehensive and high-quality pre-deployment training event would not have been possible without the support of subject matter experts from the theatre. The academic phase of the event was supported by NATO Mission Iraq leaders, representatives of international organisations and a serving Iraqi general officer. Recently redeployed and currently deployed members of NATO Mission Iraq travelled to Bydgoszcz to support the residential phase of the training.

“The team here from NMI are current – there is no one more current than them. They live and breathe what you are about to do every day. They can give you the real detail that you require, can help you understand the environment and routine, and share their lived experiences with you” said Brigadier General Jozsef Szpisjak, the JFTC Deputy Commander/ Chief of Staff and Training Director in his welcome speech.  “I assure you they will give you the answers or at least give you their views on the subjects you want to know more about”.

The main goal of this pre-deployment training was to provide the NMI Commander with uniformly trained personnel, able to function effectively within a NATO-led mission from day one. During the academic phase, the participants received crucial information related to their future mission. The residential part of the event let them put theory into practice. The event mirrored the current in-theatre reality and will allow the trainees to deploy to the theatre with confidence. It also guarantees that even with rotations of troops, the allied mission in Iraq continues at the constant, high level.