30 Nov 2015
Trident Juncture 2015
By Lieutenant Colonel Michael Buchkoski
Department Director, JTIC
Between 30 September and 8 October, a member of the NATO School Oberammergau’s (NSO) Joint Targeting Interoperability Curriculum (JTIC) staff joined SHAPE’s Evaluation Directorate in Zaragosa, Spain as the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Joint Fires and Intelligence Support to Targeting during Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2015 (TJ15). As the largest NATO exercise since 2002, TJ15 included the participation of nearly 36,000 troops from 30 nations, 230 units, 140+ aircraft, and more than 60 ships. In addition, more than 12 international organizations, governmental organizations and NGOs participated, including the European Union, the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the African Union.
Supporting SHAPE’s Evaluations Directorate provided the JTIC staff with a unique opportunity to make a first-hand assessment on the collective progress made by NATO over the past year in addressing Lessons Learned from NATO’s combat operations in Libya and previous NATO Response Force (NRF) certification exercises.
JTIC, as the education and training solution for increasing and maintaining Alliance competency in the Joint Targeting Cycle, is a key component in the continuous effort to improve the precise execution of NATO’s Joint Targeting processes. JTIC’s program of instruction throughout each of its five courses strives to instill a uniform understanding of and thorough competence in every aspect of the critical targeting functions which directly support the effectiveness of the Alliance’s deterrent capabilities.
During the 9-day, in-depth evaluation, the JTIC evaluator had the opportunity to conduct one-on-one interviews with former students to determine how useful and relevant the NSO’s targeting curriculum had been in both their daily duties at their home station and in the duty positions they were assigned to in the exercise. As described by the former students, JTIC’s courses in functional Staff Management, Target Development, and Combat Assessment were exceptionally beneficial to their understanding of and ability to execute the exceptionally specialized and complex processes of the NATO Joint Targeting Cycle.
The JTIC staff looks forward to providing future support to SHAPE’s Evaluation Directorate in coming NRF certification exercises. The ability to observe NATO targeteers in action under demanding conditions and stressful circumstances provides unique insights in the applicability and effectiveness of JTIC’s instructional program, while further cementing the NSO’s central role in instilling and advancing Joint Targeting competency for the Alliance.