On May 16 and 17 2018, representatives from the Swedish Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Division from the Swedish Armed Forces met with their JALLC counterparts in order to improve awareness and understanding regarding the NATO Lessons Learned Process and the JALLC's related roles and responsibilities, to share best practices, and to investigate how the level of cooperation between the two organizations might be increased. The visiting party from Sweden included LTC Martin Bodin, Chief of their Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Division, Commander Johan Idesjö, and two civilian analysts Mr Michael Aust and Ms Caroline Trulsson.
The JALLC and its Swedish partners have worked together already for many years regarding the now well-established and recognized NATO Lessons Learned Staff Officers Course. This course is held three times a year at the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre (SWEDINT) and sees both JALLC and SWEDINT staff working together to deliver high value training to NATO and National personnel regarding Lessons Learned activities and processes.
The visit confirmed the already deep professional cooperation between the Swedish Armed forces and the JALLC and both parties expressed their wish to continue and expand this valuable relationship.
The JALLC’s mobile training team (the JALLC Advisory and Training Team (JATT) visited the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) on 26 February on behalf of the NATO Advisory and Liaison Team (NALT) to deliver a three-day Lessons Learned (LL) related training course to 20 KSF participants. The NALT, based in Pristina, was officially created on 28 August 2016 and with regard to KSF they focused on the professional development, sustainability, and interoperability of the force within civil society. They have a staff of 41 military and civilians, including 10 Kosovar staff mainly interpreters. The NALT structure comprises a Command Element, Chief of Staff Support Team, Strategy and Plans Branch and Operations and Support Branches.
The training provided covered topics including briefings on how NATO is a Learning Organization, the NATO LL Capability; and the type of work NATO’s LL practitioners do and how they do it. As always, the JATT’s training was tailored meet the specific needs of the KSF and was much appreciated by all participants and the NALT.
The KSF already have a well-organized LL structure and run a LL process very similar to the NATO LL process, which contributes to the KSFs LL management system. However, the JATT was able to provide advice with regard to the development of an automated LL database which will greatly improve their existing LL tools, process, and structure.
During the visit, the JATT noted that the training provided seemed to offer valuable contributions for the development of the KSF into a sustainable organization, ready to contribute to the internal security and confidence building amongst the regional actors and that the training helped to reinforce the KSF’s ability to use and gain the benefits from an LL capability.
The JALLC has always been a bit of hidden gem in NATO. Not many people within the Alliance, let alone outside of it, really understood what the JALLC was, what we did and how we contribute to the Alliance’s transformation. In 2017, the JALLC's Commander, Brigadier General Mario Barreto, and as part of the NATO Lessons Learned Optimization Action Plan (NLLOAP), recognized the need to increase the JALLC's visibility inside and outside of NATO and raise awareness for the JALLC's activities. The NLLOAP is aimed at optimizing NATO's ability to capture and use Observations, Lessons, and Best Practices in order to transform and meet the needs of the Allies. The JALLC has a big role to play in this process and indeed the NATO Lessons Learned Capability going forwards more generally.
The JALLC's six key activities
NATO LL Portal - The NATO Lessons Learned Portal (the Portal) is NATO's centralized hub for all Lessons-related information. It is managed and maintained by the JALLC, contributing to the NATO Lessons Learned Process.
Analysis - Analysis is an important part of the NATO Lessons Learned Process and is key to transforming Observations into Lessons. The JALLC analyses a wide variety of data tackling NATO-wide issues to improve and transform the Alliance.
Training - The JALLC develops its education and training programme to ensure that the best possible courses are provided on Lessons and Analysis related topics in support of the NATO Lessons Learned Process.
Outreach - The JALLC Advisory & Training Team (JATT) ensures that NATO's Lessons Learned Process and the underlying capability is widely known and used throughout NATO through tailored training and support.
Support to Exercises - The JALLC supports NATO by providing education and/or training to the exercise’s Lessons Learned staff and Key Leaders, and if necessary, supports the analysis process, allowing staff to turn observations into Lessons.
Lessons Learned Events - The Lessons Learned Conference is one of the NATO's Lessons Community’s events to get together and discuss Lessons-related topics.
The Portuguese Air Command based in Lisbon celebrated its 61st anniversary on 06 April in a ceremony chaired by the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Manuel Teixeira Rolo and attended, among others, by the JALLC's Commander, Brigadier General Mário Barreto. The Air Command has hosted the JALLC in Lisbon since 2002.
During the event, the Air Commander, Lieutenant General Joaquim Borrego delivered a speech celebrating the occasion, there was a tribute to Fallen Airmen, and military decorations were awarded to air men and women.
The Air Command is responsible for training, deploying, and sustaining of the operational component of the Portuguese Air Force, as well as for assuring other missions that are assigned to the Air Force. The JALLC wishes the Air Command a very Happy Birthday and a big thank you for being such generous hosts over the years
Hosted by the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC), the NATO Lessons Learned Conference 2018 (Conference) was held on 20 – 22 March 2018 in Oeiras, Portugal at the Lagoas Park Hotel Congress Facilities. Bringing together more than one hundred participants with various backgrounds and from different entities inside and outside of NATO, this year’s Conference aimed to focus on two main themes: Interoperability and Information Exchange of Lessons within NATO and with Partners, including IOs, GOs, and NGOs; and the NATO Lessons Learned Optimization Action Plan (NLLOAP) assessment and adaptation.
This year saw a big change to the format of the Conference. In past years, the Conference has been presented in seminar/presentation format with Participants listening to lectures and briefs on a wide range of topics relating to the Conference theme. This year, Participants were divided into syndicates and worked actively with JALLC staff and Subject Matter Experts (SME) to analyse the theme related topics in more depth and make recommendations for a way ahead for NATO. The syndicate work resulted in a tangible output that can be actioned via the NATO Lessons Learned Portal , NATO's single tool for all Lessons-related information and the digital home of the Conference.
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Denis Mercier (French Air Force) opened the Conference by video. General Mercier emphasized that enhanced interoperability will make sharing lessons easier, and that machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other emerging disruptive technologies will assist the analysis of data in the future. General Mercier was followed by the JALLC's Commander, Brigadier General Mario Barreto (Portuguese Air Force), who noted that, "… the NATO Lessons community must also ensure true interoperability in the lessons learned context, to provide the right processes, tools, structures and training that enable and encourage—and not hinder—the exchange and sharing of information, knowledge, experience, lessons, and best practices"
Subsequently, four SMEs briefed the audience on their syndicate’s topic. Mr. Nick Milton, director, co-founder of Knoco Ltd, and specialist on knowledge management, introduced the procedural dimension of interoperability followed by research analyst at the JALLC, Mr. Stefan Olaru, who spoke about the technical dimension. The human dimension of interoperability was then introduced by Mr. Marvin Lee Thordsen, civilian behavioural analyst who was followed by Brigadier General Henrik Sommer (Danish Army), Assistant Chief of Staff at HQ Supreme Allied Command Transformation ( HQ SACT, who highlighted the crucial work being done on the NATO Lessons Learned Process in the form of the NATO Lessons Learned Optimization Action Plan. This action plan is aimed at significantly improving the way NATO learns from its past experiences in both operations and exercises. The Participants were then introduced to their syndicates and began working on their relative topics under the guidance of JALLC staff and SMEs.
In order to further broaden the Participants understanding and awareness of the Conference themes, a series of SME lectures was offered during the second day of the Conference. Mr. Gilles Hansoul, senior advisor for Operational Affairs at ICRC, spoke about the ICRC-NATO Lessons Learned Dialogue. Colonel Marek Kotowski, Innovation, Doctrine, and Lessons Learned Branch head at HQ SACT, addressed the participants on the topic of Lessons Learned in a multinational environment. Mr. Stefan Olaru spoke about Communication and Information Systems Interoperability Verification and Validation, a hot topic in NATO at the moment and Mr. Marvin Lee Thordsen presented some food for thought on the topic of interoperability. And finally, Mr Nick Milton presented the issue of how to avoid the Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO) principle in lessons learned. The Participants engaged in a fruitful discussion with the speakers asking lots of thought provoking questions.
The final plenary session of the Conference was opened by the JALLC's Commander who began by re-capping the events of the previous two days, and thanking the participants, as well as everyone who had contributed to making the Conference a success. Mr Ian Richmond, expert from the Crisis Response and Exercises Section in NATO HQ International Staff, followed with a presentation on Lessons Learned related topics from NATO HQ's perspective, the air gap between Lessons Learned at NATO HQ and the NATO Command Structure, and Lessons Learned challenges at the strategic level.
Representatives from each of the syndicate working groups then presented their respective findings which you can read about in the NATO Lessons Learned Conference 2018 Factsheet and in the Conference Report which will be published this Spring.
To conclude the plenary session and the Conference, the JALLC's Commander presented final Conference Statement which represents a summary of all of the key findings from the syndicate work and the best thinking from the Conference. The Commander first stressed the importance of the work done in the syndicates and the effort made by the syndicate chairs, facilitators, and experts as well as the significant level of participation from the conference participants. The Commander then confirmed that the new format of the Conference had been met with many positive remarks and perceived as a fruitful and dynamic way to bring worthwhile suggestions for transformation of NATO.
The next Lessons Learned event on the JALLC's calendar is planned for October and will look at how disruptive technologies can assist in lessons learning. Details on this event will be made available on the JALLC's website and on the NATO Lessons Learned Portal.
This week the JALLC published the March edition of its newsletter, The Explorer. This is the first edition to be published in 2018 and it features specials on the JALLC's 15th Anniversary celebrations, the upcoming NATO Lessons Learned Conference and all the latest news on the JALLC's projects and events. This edition of the Explorer is the first to feature the full new look which was introduced in the Christmas Special Edition. You can find out more about the new look, the rebranding and reorganization of the JALLC's activities in an article on how communication is key to mission success.
On 27 February 2018 Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Denis Mercier (French Air Force), presented two JALLC staff members with Certificates of Commendation. The commendations were awarded during a ceremony with all of the JALLC's staff present, including the JALLC's Commander, Brigadier General Mario Barreto, and Chief of Staff, Colonel Henrique Santos, who congratulated the gentlemen on their commendations.
Mr. Stefan Olaru (Civilian Analyst from Romania) and Dr Henrik Heidenkamp (Civilian Analyst from Germany) were presented with a Certificate of Commendation for meritorious service to NATO by SACT. Both gentlemen were praised for their contribution to the mission success of the JALLC including their activities relating to the production of high quality JALLC Analysis Reports. Mr Olaru distinguished himself through his, “…superior performance with exceptional knowledge, technical acumen, and perseverance in an extremely demanding assignment.” Dr Heidenkamp, was recognized for his “….high-level analysis [conducted] in a truly outstanding manner covering a broad variety of complex themes as well as contributed to the JALLC activities by his outstanding analytical and strategic thinking delivering tangible outcomes.”
The Ceremony was held during SACT's visit to Portugal in connection with the visit of NATO's Military Committee to ACT which took place earlier that week and was hosted by the JALLC at its facilities in Lisbon and the facilities in Oeirias.