On 11 January 2017, the JALLC received 60 Portuguese Navy First Lieutenants, who are currently attending the 2016-2017 Portuguese Navy's Senior Officer Promotion Course. The officers, who will earn their rank of at the end of the course, received a comprehensive briefing on Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned processes and activities within NATO, as well as on the JALLC's goals, tasks, and on how it operates.
The officers had also the opportunity to interact directly with the JALLC's Commander Brigadier General Mário Barreto, asking questions and showing great interest in the way the Alliance identifies, analyses, and implements lessons as well as in the role of the JALLC in the Lessons Learned Process.
Upon completion of their course, these officers will enter a new phase in their military careers, shifting the focus of their duties away from the tactical toward the operational and strategic level. It is therefore crucial for them to understand the Lessons Learned Process in military operations, in order to be able to apply it during their careers, ultimately contributing to, not only their nation's transformation in this respect, but also to the Alliance's transformation more generally.
On 06 December 2016, Vice Chief of Staff (VCOS) of the Brazilian Air Force – Air Lieutenant Brigadier Raúl Botelho - visited the JALLC with a high level delegation of the Brazilian Air Force and the Brazilian Embassy attaché. The goal of the Brazilian Delegation was to understand the NATO Lessons Learned Process, its procedures and information sharing tools, and the way the JALLC manages its Program Of Work. The VCOS visit to the JALLC was part of a larger tour to Portugal.
The visiting party was received by the JALLC's new Commander, Brigadier-General Mário Barreto (Portuguese Air Force) for a courtesy office call and a presentation about the JALLC and its approach to the NATO Lessons Learned process.
Air Lieutenant Brigadier Botelho signed the JALLC book of Honour and expressed his satisfaction for having had the opportunity to witness how NATO works the area of Lessons Learned, a subject he considers paramount for any military organization to master, in order to be able to adapt and evolve, in a world with a very challenging security situation.
Since 2003, the JALLC has hosted the NATO Lessons Learned Conference (NLLC) on behalf of Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT). This event brings together participants from far and wide; from NATO and non-NATO nations; and from all types of organizations, to discuss a number of topics based around the conference theme and provides an opportunity to exchange knowledge, experience, and expertise within the Lessons Learned Community, enabling the continuous transformation of the Alliance.
This year’s conference focussed on the theme: The Future of Lessons Learned: Innovation and Improvement. This factsheet presents the key takeaways from this year’s Conference and some of the highlights.
Information about Day 1 and Day 2 is also available. The conference report will be available here soon.
On 29 November 2016, the Signing Ceremony for the NATO Force Structure (NFS) Joint Task Force (JTF) HQ Handbook took place at the 2016 NATO Lessons Learned Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Handbook was signed by Brigadier General Mário Barreto, Commander of the JALLC, Captain Reneé van Pamelen-Hollenberg, Director NATO Command and Control Centre of Excellence (C2COE), and Lieutenant Colonel Jacek Ropejko, Branch Chief, Quality Assurance (Lessons Learned) of the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC). Lieutenant Colonel Ropejko was representing Major General Andrzej Reudowicz, Commander of the JWC. The Signing Ceremony marked the official launch of the Handbook.
The NFS JTF HQ Handbook is the result of a three-year cooperative effort between the JALLC, the JWC, and the C2COE. It combines observations, insights, and analysis from the TRIDENT JAGUAR series of NATO exercises, which took place in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The exercises aimed to test the readiness of NATO’s Graduated Readiness Forces (Land) to perform as JTF HQs, a role that was assigned to them as part of the framework for a new NATO Command Structure agreed at the Lisbon Summit in 2010. As the NATO transformational and operational communities developed the NFS JTF HQ concept, commanders, staff officers, subject matter experts, and analysts identified good practices and areas for further study and reflection.
Speaking at the Signing Ceremony, Brigadier General Barreto said: “It is a pleasure and an honour to sign this Handbook, which is an example of true teamwork between the JALLC, the JWC, and the C2COE. My best congratulations go to the authors and everyone else involved in its production.”
On 30 November 2016, the JALLC hosted the second and final day of the NATO Lessons Learned Conference, at the Portuguese Military Academy in Amadora, Lisbon. Conference participants continued to discuss topics around the conference theme: The Future of Lessons Learned: Innovation and Improvement.
The day was opened by the JALLC’s Commander, Brigadier General Mário Barreto (PRT Air Force) referring to Supreme Allied Commander Transformation’s opening remarks the day before regarding the power of learning lessons as a key force multiplier for the Alliance. The Brigadier General went on to underline that standardization is what NATO is known for, but recognized that improvement is needed with specific regard to the Lessons Learned Process. The panel members then briefed the audience on NATO’s Lessons Learned support to Nations. For example, the JALLC’s Principal Operational Research Analyst noted that NATO should improve the use of its formal tools, such as the NATO Lessons Learned Portal (NLLP), but should remember to foster more informal, flexible interaction and sharing of ideas and experiences among the Nations.
The briefings were followed by an interactive and fruitful exchange between the panel members and the audience, which generated more ideas for the improvement of the Lessons Learned Process. In particular, the need for validation, the possibility of providing feedback to Nations contributing to the NLLP, and the importance of interoperability (including in the cyber domain) were discussed.
The second panel of the day covered the topic of how to improve interaction between NATO and its Centres of Excellence (COEs). The key speaker, Captain Renée van Pamelen-Hollenberg, Director Command and Control (C2) COE, began by referring to Einstein’s famous definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – and challenged the Lessons Learned Community to avoid falling into that trap. She spoke about how NATO COEs can support the Alliance in its transformation, acting as agents of change, promoting new concepts, and helping different entities achieve the most effective Lessons Learned Process. She was followed by representatives from four other COEs: Confined and Shallow Waters (CSW), Modelling and Simulation, Mountain Warfare, and Human Intelligence (HUMINT). Each spoke about the challenges they face in implementing the Lessons Learned Process, and their solutions: these include assessing and improving future Joint Analysis Requirements, mobilizing Communities of Interest, running workshops on the Lessons Learned Process, and many others. Finally, Commander Cesar Correia (HQ SACT CAPDEV CEI TNB COE Section) summed up the relationship between COEs and the Alliance as being one of mutual benefit. This relationship must be fostered if innovation and improvement are to be secured for the future of the Alliance.
The final panel of the day, and of the conference, focussed on Member Nations’ Lessons Learned support to NATO. Opening the panel, key speaker Major General (Ret) Eric Roussel (FRA Army) presented the Lessons Learned from three French operations carried out in Africa between 2013 and the present day: Operation Serval, Operation Sangaris, and Operation Barkhane. He underlined the need for the Alliance to improve its role as a facilitator for the exchange of these as well as other National Observations and Lessons. Following this introduction, panel members went on to provide insights into their Nations’ or organizations’ Lessons Learned Processes. For example, Commander Todd Copeland (Joint Lessons Learned Division (formerly Joint and Coalition Operational Analysis division)) highlighted their Joint Lessons Learned Information System (JLLIS) and Lieutenant Colonel Hesse provided a quick overview of Germany’s Lessons Learned related activities and results.
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Admiral Manfred Nielson (DEU Navy), closed the conference, confirming that, “Learning Lessons is an essential part of the continuous adaptation, innovation, and transformation of the Alliance.” He went on to thank the JALLC for its efforts in organizing and hosting the conference, and confirmed that the JALLC will continue to play a crucial role in shaping NATO’s future.
Finally, the JALLC’s Commander, Brigadier General Mário Barreto, summed up the conference in his closing remarks, thanking everyone involved for their contribution and reminding the audience that, “We are the future of the Lessons Learned Process and it is the responsibility of us all to contribute to that future.”
On 29 November 2016, the 13th edition of the NATO Lessons Learned Conference was attended by presenters and guests from NATO and non-NATO nations as well as from various organizations and NGOs. Participants were welcomed by the JALLC's Commander, Brigadier General Mário Barreto (Portuguese Air Force). The theme of this year’s conference is, “The Future of Lessons Learned: Innovation and Improvement” which will be discussed and explored by NATO's Lessons Learned Community during a series of compelling briefings and panel discussions.
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Denis Mercier (French Air Force), opened the conference by video, stating that, “Learning lessons is a starting point for [NATO's] Transformation. Transformation, however, is not an end in itself but rather a process that delivers a tangible output: NATO's posture.”
After some introductory words by the JALLC's Commander, the conference then kicked off with two NATO updates, the first of which was presented by Lieutenant Colonel Scarabotto (HQ SACT CAPDEV CEI IDLL). He began by presenting an overview of where the NATO Lessons Learned Process currently stands, providing suggestions on how to move forward to ensure the Alliance’s transformation. Lieutenant Colonel Scarabotto further noted that NATO's Lessons Learned Process faces the challenge of capturing lessons throughout the wide array of training events, exercises, and operations. Finally, he suggested the way ahead may be to share our Lessons Learned more effectively with each other, utilize the same process, and ensure shared awareness of each other’s Lessons Learned.
The second update was presented by Brigadier General Von Sandrart (SHAPE ACOS J7) who focused on Lessons Learned from the perspective of Allied Command Operations (ACO). Although NATO, in terms of both strategic commands, faces many challenges, as, the Brigadier General stated, “We can mitigate these challenges and be better, but it is all about working together and not against one another.” NATO increasing its efforts in this area will allow the Alliance to improve and focus on the strategic level in the changing global security threat environment. Finally, he suggested that an exercise could be developed, as a high priority, that would allow NGOs to participate, thereby increasing NATO's civil-military cooperation.
The updates were followed by the conference’s first panel which covered SACT's six key focus areas— Command and Control (C2), Logistics and Sustainability, Training and Exercises, Partnerships, Capabilities, and Human Resources—and how key lessons can be used to cultivate the transformational mindset and ultimately build NATO's capabilities. Lieutenant General Lofgren (HQ SACT DCOS CAPDEV), key speaker of the panel, emphasized that NATO needs to build on the momentum created by people attending exercises through capturing lessons and ensuring an integrative approach to transformation. Each of the panel members then spoke on a different key focus area. For example, Lieutenant Colonel Szmuck (HQ SACT JFT JETE) highlighted NATO's integration of previous exercises into current and future training missions and Colonel Malessa (HQ SACT CAPDEV C2DS) spoke on the future of C2 and a closer relationship between ACO and Allied Command Transformation in order to work towards the same vision.
The NATO Readiness Action Plan (RAP) was the topic of the second panel which was introduced by Brigadier General Corell (HQ MND SE) who spoke on the importance of a strong training process for the staff tasked with the setup of a new HQ. Among the other panel members, Mr Mark Laity (STRATCOM SHAPE P1) discussed the value that STRATCOM has gained from incorporating Lessons Learned and the way forward to continue increasing the capability and Lieutenant Colonel Lis (DTC PAF) and Colonel Pappal (US CALL) gave their Nations’ perspectives on Exercise ANAKONDA-16.
The first day of the conference closed with the third panel, which was presented by Professor John Louth from the Royal United Services Institute and Mr Enrique Martin from E&Q Engineering who gave the audience their insights on Lessons Learned from their respective organizations’ perspective.
On 21 October 2016, Vice Chief of Staff (VCOS) for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) – Lieutenant General Hugues Delort-Laval (French Army)–visited the JALLC. Although LTG Delort-Laval only started his post as VCOS SHAPE on 01 November he took time out of his busy schedule prior to his appointment to tour some of the important entities in the NATO Command structure to better understand their capabilities and how they work within the Alliance.
The JALLC was the last entity to be visited and, as the JALLC has always maintained close working relations supporting SHAPE, it was deemed important by LTG Yakovleff, the outgoing VCOS SHAPE, to have his successor visiting the JALLC.
During this very informative first visit to the JALLC, speaking to the JALLC's command group and other participants, LTG Delort-Laval noted in particular the value that the JALLC contributes to Allied Command Operations (ACO) and NATO in general and shared his intent to ensure that ACO will be continue to work closely with the JALLC.