After three years of intensive and rewarding service, Brigadier General Jozsef Szpisjak, Hungarian Army, the Joint Force Training Centre’s Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, departs the Centre. His successor, Brigadier General Petr Svoboda, Czech Army, will officially assume the JFTC Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff’s position on 1 August. The change of post ceremony, led by Major General Norbert Wagner, JFTC Commander was held on 22 July.

“Jozsef, you did an unbelievably great job! Very concentrated and focused on JFTC´s mission, with values and fundamentals of NATO always in mind. You own the key capabilities of sound assessment, quick decision making and the continuous focus on the most essential tasks”, said Major General Norbert Wagner addressing the outgoing JFTC Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff. “For me personally you were an outstanding helpful advisor, mentor and partner within our common mission. A friend, honest and frank, and always extremely supportive.”

The Commander underlined that over the past, very challenging years, General Szpisjak proved to be ‘fair, straight, honest, extremely caring for the staff, always very correct, outstandingly loyal, continuously an example, very dedicated to common values and NATO standards and fundamentals’.

“So what´s the résumé after 3 years of duty? 1) The Commander is well prepared; 2) The staff is well organised and set up; 3) Plans and future development are well on track.”, General Wagner added.


Brigadier General Jozsef Szpisjak’s Farewell

“I will never forget JFTC and that is thanks to you,” said General Szpisjak addressing the JFTC for the last time. “We have been through good and bad – or, depending on the perspective, bad and good. The life at JFTC over the last three years has not always been ‘a bed of roses’. But there is one thing I am sure of – together we have achieved a lot and we have leveraged the Centre up to a higher level,” General added and thanked all staff members for comradeship and good cooperation.

 “When I look at all of you, I see soldiers in different uniforms and civilian experts, who can and should be proud of their work. You have to know that JFTC has gained a lot of attention over the past years and is well recognised within NATO. It is you, who achieved that. And I am proud and pleased that I had an opportunity to trigger some of the changes that brought JFTC to this place”, General Szpisjak added. “You are a team of great professionals and a team of wonderful people. I wish you all the best in the future. Together you can and you do make the Alliance better”.

General Szpisjak also thanked General Wagner for the months of good and successful cooperation. Turning to his successor, the General said: “Brigadier General Svoboda, after several days I had a pleasure to spend with you, I am convinced that I am leaving the JFTC staff in good hands. (…) I wish you all the best on the assignment and I am sure this will be a very rewarding time.”

Brigadier General Szpisjak will deploy to Kosovo, where he will assume the position of the Deputy Commander of KFOR (Kosovo Force) in November.


Welcome to Brigadier General Petr Svoboda

The incoming JFTC Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, thanked Major General Wagner, Brigadier General Szpisjak and JFTC staff members for the warm welcome he had received during the hand over/ take over period. He also expressed his confidence that the upcoming years would be fruitful time for both him and the Centre.

Brigadier General Petr Svoboda arrived at the Joint Force Training Centre from 7th Czech Mechanised Brigade that he commanded since 2020. The General has wide NATO experience – he served in NATO units and was deployed to several NATO and multinational missions. The General also completed numerous national as well as international courses and assignments. You will find more about Brigadier General Petr Svoboda’s background here.

“For your future job, I wish you a lot of luck and I’m looking forward to working together with you in close cooperation,” said Major General Norbert Wagner, addressing his new deputy. “I’m sure JFTC staff will support you in the best way possible”.