With more than 170 participants from over 20 NATO and partner nations, the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) has just opened the first pre-deployment training for NATO Mission Iraq (NMI). On 1 October, in presence of Major General Dany Fortin, the NMI current Commander, and Major General Jennie Carignan, the designated NMI Commander, Major General Adam Joks, the JFTC Commander, welcomed event participants to the Bydgoszcz NATO training centre. The JFTC Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, and at the same time Training Director, Brigadier General Jozsef Szpisjak, introduced the participants to the programme of the training and its anticipated outcomes.

“We are happy to host this important training event and we are grateful for the excellent support, which we are receiving from the theatre for the planning and implementation of the event – General Joks addressed the audience during the opening ceremony.

When in 2018 the Allied leaders, following a request from the Iraqi government, issued direction to launch a new training mission in Iraq (click here to read more about the NMI), JFTC was automatically tasked to set up and execute a respective pre-deployment training for this new capacity building mission. With its 15-years’ experience in training for allied missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, JFTC was a natural choice for this endeavour.

“Over the last 15 years, JFTC has built an undisputable reputation and became the NATO focal point for pre-deployment training” – said General Szpisjak. “Here, allied troops receive highest quality preparation before their deployment.”

During the initial training for NMI, held in May with a smaller number of participants, the JFTC team thoroughly assessed the training concept and validated it before the first regular event taking place now. Lessons identified and feedback from both trainees and trainers were implemented into planning and preparation process.

The aim of the NATO Mission Iraq pre-deployment training is to provide the Commander with uniformly trained personnel, aware of their roles and able to function effectively within this NATO-led mission.

Academic and practical phases of the training acquaint participants with the specifics of the mission and trains soldiers assigned to advisory roles. During the event advisors will conduct meetings with Iraqi counterparts and will be trained in communication techniques, especially in the use of interpreters. At the same time, other staff officers will be acquainted with the specifics of their respective duties. Training groups will also discuss a number of cross-functional tasks.

Additionally, the training event is a perfect opportunity for team building.

“This training gives us the advantage of hitting the ground running” – said General Fortin. “You arrive, you already know each other, you’ve been immersed in this environment, you learn about the plan and, how to conduct the operations and get going very quickly after your arrival.”

During the event trainees have an opportunity to meet with their predecessors, who share knowledge and useful tips directly from the theatre. Those who took part in the May iteration of the event, deployed to Iraq in mid-2019. They are now supporting the event as the first Subject Matter Experts with both up-to-date experience from the theatre and expertise related to the NMI pre-deployment training.

By engaging experts with the most recent in-theatre experience, JFTC plays an important role in ensuring continuity and credibility of NMI and NATO.


Launching a new series of pre-deployment training is an important highlight of the Joint Force Training Centre’s 2019 calendar. It will also have a significant impact on our programme of work in the years to come. Additionally, it reaffirms the JFTC’s unique role within NATO and an indisputable reputation of the NATO’s focal point for pre-deployment training. By now, close to 20,000 allied troops have received highest quality preparation during various types of pre-deployment training events conducted by JFTC.