The Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) conducted a pilot pre-deployment training event for the new NATO Mission in Iraq. The event took place between 7 and 16 May and gathered more than 120 participants and Subject Matter Experts from 19 nations. Outcomes, validations and lessons learned derived from this iteration will lay foundation for future series of NATO Mission Iraq Pre-Deployment Training Events (NMI PDT).

“We are offering you the best possible training for staff and advisors. We have a lot of experience from other pre-deployment training events and we will leverage what we know to provide you with complex preparation for your mission” – said Major General Wilhelm Grün, the JFTC Commander and training director to the participants.

The NMI PDT is planned as a multi-modal training with the aim of providing the Commander of the Mission with uniformly trained personnel, aware of their roles and able to function effectively within a NATO-led operation. Being NATO’s focal point for pre-deployment training, JFTC was a natural choice to design and provide the final preparation for future members of the newly established NATO mission. The Centre prepared the initial event using its broad, 15-years’ experience in training for allied missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

To address the training objectives, the pilot event was tailored to introduce participants to the specifics of the mission, to train soldiers assigned to advisory roles and to create conditions for team building - all these arranged in two main phases of the training, academic and practical. To enhance realism, the expertise of Subject Matter Experts with relevant theatre experience was incorporated into the event.

A smaller number of participants of the initial execution allowed the JFTC team to thoroughly assess the training concept, with its structure, timelines and tools, and thus to validate it before the NMI PDT 19-2 in autumn this year, which is planned to be a full-sized event. As the first event that prepared future members of the allied mission in Iraq, the training had another important value. The Training Audience, who will deploy to the theatre in the months to come, will augment the autumn iteration of the training series as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). They will be the first SMEs with both up-to-date experience from the theatre and expertise related to the NMI PDT.

The outcomes and findings of the pilot iteration are of key importance for the JFTC training team and planners. The team is now collecting all lessons identified and feedback from both the trainees and the trainers to implement them into a planning process for the NMI PDT 19-2.

Although it was just a starting point for the future series of training events, JFTC managed to plan and execute high level pre-deployment preparation for both advisors and staff members of the NATO Mission in Iraq.

During the event, the participants interacted with many Subject Matter Experts, to include Major General Dany Fortin, the Commander of the NATO Mission Iraq. He arrived in Bydgoszcz to meet with his future staff, to share his experience and to observe the progress of the training. Admiral James Foggo, the Commander of the Joint Force Command Naples, the supporting command for the NATO Mission Iraq, addressed the training audience via a video-teleconference. He underlined the importance of the most recent allied mission and provided the participants with key guidance for both the training and their future deployment.

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