Future members of the non-combat advisory and capacity building NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) have just completed the final step of their preparation before the mission. The first 2023 iteration of NMI Pre-Deployment Training concluded today at the Joint Force Training Centre. The event, executed between 16 and 27 January, gathered soon-to-be NMI staff members and advisors, and current NMI subject matter experts who facilitated the training.

The training event consisted of two phases – virtual, conducted during the first week via on-line platforms, and residential, executed at JFTC in Bydgoszcz, Poland, between 23 and 27 January. The virtual phase comprised briefings, individual learning modules and live chats that enabled participants to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the mission and its environment. During the residential phase, trainees could practice their skills. They had an opportunity to interact, and thus to profit from vast experience of experts.

Strong teams are key to success of every mission, therefore team building was another key aspect of the residential phase. For most participants, the training at JFTC was the first opportunity to meet their future comrades. Personal interactions during the training helped build foundations for future cooperation and a smoother start once in Iraq.

“Cohesion is the key to your future success. With this in mind, the goals, both yours and the mission’s, will be much easier to achieve”, said Major General Norbert Wagner, JFTC Commander, addressing future NMI members at the end of the training. Brigadier General Ricardo Esteban Cabrejos, the NMI Chief of Staff, who provided his farewell remarks via VTC directly from Iraq, underlined that the contribution of future members to NMI is important and “will make a difference”.

Execution of such thorough and demanding training would not have been possible without assistance of experts with up-to-date experience. The trainees received tremendous support from the NATO Mission Iraq itself, the Joint Force Command Naples, NATO Security Force Assistance Centre of Excellence, NCIA technicians, analysts from the U.S. Navy Reserve and most of all, from the recently redeployed subject matter experts with their priceless insight into the situation in Iraq and the allied mission.

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 May 2023.