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.”Read More