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25 Aug 2015

Joint Targeting Program

With full support from the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Philip M. Breedlove, the Joint Targeting Education and Training Program at the NATO School Oberammergau was officially established on 23 January 2015. Prior to this, NATO identified a critical Joint Targeting training shortfall as demonstrated during Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR and NATO Response Force (NRF) exercises. The intent of this article is to update the Alliance on what the Joint Targeting Interoperability Curriculum (JTIC) program has accomplished over its first six months and provide an outlook for the program’s future.

Academic operations continue to remain steady with nearly 350 students attending resident JTIC courses during the first half of 2015. The majority of participants completed the NATO Joint Targeting Staff Course gaining an understanding of the concepts and fundamentals of targeting. With a foundational basis of targeting, individuals received training in skills such as basic and intermediate target development, collateral damage estimation, and automated targeting systems. Selected targeteers who demonstrated proficiency in the targeting process concluded their advanced individual training in coursework involving battle damage assessment, target nomination management, and targeting strategy. Germany, Italy, and Canada accumulated the highest rate of enrollment and took full advantage of the curriculum to create qualified NATO targeteers.

Another key component for NATO targeting competency is collective training. The execution of the joint targeting cycle is dependent not only on proficient targeteers but also on the integration of the targeting function with other staff functions such as Plans, Intelligence, Operations, LEGAD and POLAD. The ability of senior leaders to effectively integrate targeting across joint operations is one of the main objectives of JTIC’s latest initiative: the Target Engagement Authority for Senior Leaders (TEA-SL) seminar. Debuted at Joint Force Command Naples earlier this year, TEA-SL participants discussed their organization’s execution of the joint targeting process and considered some common targeting misconceptions. JTIC also supported a TEA-SL seminar at Air Command (HQ AIRCOM) later in the year.

Underscoring the importance of remaining operationally relevant, JTIC welcomes two new members on its faculty this summer. This support from Italy and Canada provides the program with current practices and lessons learned from professionals serving in NATO postings. These update-to-date experiences allow curriculum developers to revise course material, as necessary, and, more importantly, to ensure interoperability is maximized across the entire JTIC program. Future cadre support to JTIC from other NATO Nations confirms the program’s validity as an effective and efficient training solution.

Although a new program of instruction, JTIC has quickly grown into a comprehensive NATO Joint Targeting Education and Training Program. Momentum across the program for the remainder of 2015 is encouraging with strong enrollment projections and the addition of new cadre members. At the end of this year, the NSO hosts the ACO Targeting Conference for the NATO Targeting Community of Interest, as well as the JTIC Steering Committee to review JTIC’s curriculum and ensure doctrinal compliance and best-practices. Looking ahead to 2016, JTIC enrollment estimates continue to trend upward for the four in-residence courses with bids in place for all 820 seats. Simply put, JTIC is providing the Alliance with a NATO Command Structure-wide cadre of properly trained and certified targeteers postured to support the next crisis.

JTIC Participating Nations 2015