Although limitations imposed by COVID-19 pandemic continue, the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) keeps preparing future members of allied missions for their deployment. The unprecedented situation has affected the way JFTC executes the training but it has not stopped the Centre from fulfilling its mission. On 13 October, another group of future members of NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) completed their pre-deployment training (PDT) – on-line.

COVID-19 restrictions have been an important factor in planning and executing JFTC training and exercises for the past several months. Preparations for the still ongoing NMI pre-deployment training were no different.

“During the last few months we realised that the world, as we know it, has changed dramatically.  The most significant change with respect to conducting the NMI PDT is that it was not feasible to fully conduct it in-person. We had to mitigate pandemic restrictions and rethink, at least for now, our concept of fully residential training and education.” – highlighted Major General Adam Joks, JFTC Commander, addressing the training audience at the end of the event.

The need to shift the NMI training from residential to on-line mode created challenges, that required additional conceptual work from the Centre‘s training team and comprehensive engagement from the trainees. All the efforts paid off. Thanks to innovative means implemented by JFTC, Joint Force Command Naples and Allied Command Transformation’s Joint Advanced Distance Learning Team, another group of future NMI members got ready for their mission, as planned. The soldiers trained through recorded lessons, lectures, on-line meetings, live chats and advisory sessions. They also interacted with their predecessors, NMI leaders, to include Major General Jennie Carignan (CAN), the Commander, and future leaders, among others the designated Commander, Lieutenant General Per Pugholm Olsen (DNK).

In the weeks and months to come, those who have just completed the pre-deployment training will start their mission. They will use skills and knowledge they learnt to advise their Iraqi counterparts. Cooperation with the Iraqis will be a great opportunity to gain new experience that can be used during the upcoming iterations of the NMI pre-deployment training.

“Do not forget about your successors” – stressed General Joks and added: “The next NMI-PDT at the Joint Force Training Centre is planned for May next year. For that event, you will be the Subject Matter Experts, and we will need you to make the training for your successors possible and valuable. Our team will stay in touch with you.”

The NMI virtual training started on 5 October. To read more about the event, click here.