With Andrzej Reudowicz on the preparations for NATO exercises and response to threats which result from the changing international situation talks Łukasz Zalesiński.
Do you like strategic games?
MajGen Andrzej Reudowicz: I’d rather deliberate on human nature instead. Has it changed throughout the ages? How has technology affected it? Finally: How does it all translate into our doings and the world that’s around us? Strategic games seem to fit in a similar reflective ideas.
What about the work you do in NATO Joint Warfare Centre?
It fits in there, too, because it’s based on observations and reality analysis. We try to discover what mechanisms rule this reality, but we also have to respond to political guidelines which originate from the NATO summit regulations. Since NATO must be ready for a 360-degree approach to seeking threats, it’s our task to create such a fictional world which will help us to learn the knowledge and gain experience in solving certain problems.
Let’s get down to the base, and explain: What is the JWC NATO in Stavanger?
This is an organization founded on October 23, 2003. It’s subordinate to NATO Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk and closely cooperates with another strategic command, which is SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe). We work at the operational level, hence we need to cooperate with two such NATO commands, namely JFCs (Joint Force Commands) in Brunssum and Naples. We’re also preparing the tactical-level commands of the NFS (NATO Force Structure) for tasks at the joint operational level in small joint operations. Their commanders usually focus on troop command to reach assumed combat goals. We boost their thinking up one level, and we discuss their activities within a broader context. The tasks carried out by their troops become an element of a great-scale operation…
…which you prepare.
Our task is to – speaking colloquially – throw into a certain environment, which we have created, a complex world of fiction, although still quite real. We create certain problems, and we ask commanders to solve them.
How are you constructing such a world?
It takes us half and a year on average to prepare exercises. First, we’re talking to the main participants of the entire process: the representatives of strategic commands, one of the operational commands, and tactical unit commands which are in the exercise schedule. We’re discussing our goals. The main goal is set and defined in Norfolk, as it is the NATO ACT that is responsible for NATO strategy, and detailed (training) goals – at the lowest levels. At the same time, we start to work on making one of our scenarios very detailed. We’re dividing the world into countries. We’re close to natural geography, but we invent new borders and names. We’re building complex historical context. Quite often, while defining relationships between countries, we date as far back as to the Middle Ages. We look closely at specific leaders and relations between them. This is the first part of our scenario, so-called “settings”, basic conditions for action. This part is available for NATO member states, for example Skolkan has already been used over a hundred times. One of our newest scenarios, Occasus, has been used by Poland and USA.
The second stage of our work can be defined as the “road to war”. We explain the background of the present conflict, and why NATO should be engaged in it. In short, we outline the situation which is a starting point for real activities. This part is often interpreted as a scenario, it is a “what if”, although we understand it as simply being one of the scenario’s elements.
Finally, the third stage: incidents which we intend to incorporate for the participants to exercise. They will receive information from the commands of higher level via their subordinates, or the so-called “white and grey cells”. The latter one is the team of, for example, the people of the Red Cross, the EU or institutions owned by the state on the territory of which we do the exercise. In the world we have created, there are factories, coal-mines, airports, harbors. There are passenger flights on schedule, and the ships sailing at sea. Details are extremely important.
Why are you writing such a detailed scenario?
Because it’s crucial that the participants do not focus solely on military aspect, but also be aware of certain political conditions, legal or economic, which they would have to deal with in the real world. Suppose that within the Article 5 of NATO treaty the army is deployed to an allied state which struggles with external enemy. The situation there will be totally different from the one in Afghanistan, where the NATO’s role is to introduce order and constitute law. In the Central and Western Europe or in North America, there is a certain legal order which should be respected. On top of that, during martial law, state of emergency or natural disaster, the law usually changes, which is additional complication. Hence, the representatives of NATO armies must not only be soldiers, but also become diplomats a little. They should stick to the famous sentence by Carl von Clausewitz: “War is the continuation of politics by other means.”
What happens when the scenario for exercise is ready?
Simultaneously with creating the scenarios, as well as preparing all elements necessary for exercises, we’re supporting the commands getting ready for these exercises. First, we’re running a series of lectures and seminars for commanders and staffs. Then, the staff training. Then, the most important stage starts: in Joint Warfare Center, we create the higher control command (HICON), and get necessary documents ready for launching the operation. On the basis of this documentation, the staff gets to work. We’re taking part in this to some extent, because we’re sending several coaches to the participants, so they are always ready to assist, advice, explain certain aspects of a situation outlined by planners. This happens because we have to keep focus on NATO standards. The following stage means conducting military operation on land, at sea and in the air. Finally, we gather all our experiences and produce a manual which we publish at the end of each year. We distribute it among NATO commands. Moreover, we do validations, that is we analyze the accuracy of NATO doctrines. In effect, they can even be modified.
How many people prepare and conduct the exercise?
In JWC NATO, there are 250 soldiers working on a regular basis. However, in case of large exercise, the number of people engaged in preparations and conduct can reach even 800, because the exercise control (EXCON) must be created, the so-called civil environment.
How many Polish soldiers serve in Stavanger?
Unfortunately, not many. In Stavanger, we are given only five job positions, while Germany or Great Britain have over 30. Now, since I have been commanding the JWC and have my own bureau and secretariat, the number of Poles have increased to nine, but with the end of my term of office in July next year, this number will be reduced again. That’s a pity, since JWC is a dream place for young officers to start their career in NATO. They can learn not only how to prepare a large-scale exercise, but also understand the structure of NATO institutions.
In the recent years, the content of scenarios must have evolved, as international situation has significantly changed. What are these changes?
The threats from the East are very much emphasized as well as NATO’s response to it stemming from Article 5, which says about collective defense. We are also working on a large scenario, which is to reflect the problems of North Africa and the Middle East, such as arms and drugs smuggling, human smuggling, and related risk of humanitarian disaster and Europe’s destabilization. For quite some time, we have been interested in the aspects of hybrid, cybernetic, and informational war. We also pay close attention to the commanders’ ability to find a right balance between military and non-military resources when they plan their activities. Sometimes it’s more effective to send to a given world region a piece of information than to send a tank.
As a result of Russia’s aggressive politics, NATO found itself in a situation never experienced since the Cold War ended. It has the enemy of similar technological capability. This requires a brand new kind of activity. We don’t forget what it might mean to us. I think we don’t realize to what extent we are today dependent on devices we had placed in cosmic space, and which unfortunately can be destroyed or jammed. Can you imagine life without GPS? The US Stryker brigade uses over 1,200 devices which depend on – colloquially speaking – the Outer Space. These are not only spying satellites or vehicle location systems, but also communication and armament systems. We need to be prepared for activity in a destroyed environment of the outer space.
MajGen Andrzej Reudowicz is a commander at Joint Warfare Centre NATO in Stavanger.
autor zdjęć: NATO / JWC