On 5 October, the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) launched the second 2020 virtual pre-deployment training for future members of NATO Mission Iraq (NMI). Throughout 7 days of on-line course, the soldiers will gain knowledge and skills they will need once deployed in Iraq. More than 120 participants from 20 nations are now working hand in hand in 10 time zones for the future success of the allied mission.

“This course is mission essential. Its contents will be critical during your upcoming deployment” – stressed Brigadier General Jozsef Szpisjak, the JFTC Deputy Commander and also the Training Director, who welcomed the participants in a recorded message. 

The main goal of this pre-deployment training is to provide the NMI Commander with uniformly trained personnel, able to function effectively within a NATO-led mission. To achieve this, the JFTC training team, together with experts from the Joint Force Command Naples and from the Allied Command Transformation’s Joint Advanced Distance Learning Team, prepared recorded lessons, lectures, on-line meetings and live chats. They all will help participants understand the mission, its social and cultural context as well as their particular roles within the allied endeavour.

“We have created a challenging program for you. We will also give you an opportunity to get in touch and interact with your predecessors” – General Szpisjak underlined. He also highlighted key importance of advisory exercises. “Virtual advisory sessions are meant to replicate the actual reality in theatre where you will conduct remote advising via various phone and video-teleconferencing tools. This approach cannot replace 100% the standard pre-deployment training here at JFTC. However, we have done all that we could to give you the best preparation possible, under the current limitations.”

As restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic limited the number of regular, residential training events, JFTC continues developing solutions that allow future members of allied missions to get ready for their deployment despite the unprecedented situation. The currently ongoing event is the third on-line pre-deployment training conducted by the Centre this year. The first event of this type was NMI training in May that allowed JFTC to thoroughly assess the distributed execution concept. Lessons identified derived from that course as well as the feedback from the participants and observers from all across NATO were of extreme value for the preparation of the following Resolute Support training event executed on-line in July.

The JFTC distributed pre-deployment training execution concept has developed and matured over the past months and became a very good solution for times of crisis. However, there are important areas, where the residential training cannot be replaced (read more here), and thus the Centre’s training team is ready to come back to the regular training as soon as it is safe and possible.

The next pre-deployment training at JFTC is planned for January 2021.