The JALLC recently published the latest edition of its online magazine, The Explorer. This new look magazine will contain articles on: projects the JALLC has completed and is working on; interesting events that have taken place at the JALLC; the latest joint analysis techniques being applied by our analysts; and updates from the Lessons Learned Community. Each edition will include a feature article and interviews with JALLC members and/or members of the Lessons Learned community in general.
In this edition, we feature the NATO Lessons Learned Conference; looking back at the 2015 conference and forward to the 2016 conference which takes place on 29 and 30 November this year. We also discuss the revision to the JALLC’s project management approach which looks set to guarantee even more efficient and effective joint analysis projects, and a new cooperation with the Royal United Services Institute for Defence (RUSI) ensuring the JALLC remains at the centre of thinking in terms of global defence and security.
We hope our readers enjoy this edition and the new look magazine. The next edition is due out at the end of September and will feature interviews with the JALLC’s new Commander and Chief of Staff.
The NATO Exercise Training, Reporting and Analysis (EXTRA) Portal recently passed a landmark 500 000th website hit; a truly notable achievement for the Alliance’s single centralized exercise and training-related information sharing platform. Developed throughout 2014 by the JALLC, the NATO EXTRA Portal was launched just 18 months ago in January 2015 with the aim of making the job of NATO exercise planners and all those involved in exercises, training, reporting and analysis much easier by providing immediate and easy access to all exercise and training-related information such as NATO Exercise Lessons Identified Action Lists (LIAL), Final Exercise Reports (FER), First Impression Reports (FIR), Exercise Specifications (EXSPEC) and Exercise Plans (EXPLAN) as well as all essential exercise planning directives and documentation.
The NATO EXTRA Portal also has a number of useful additional features such as links to other HQ web-sites, an on-line forum for the NATO EXTRA Community of Interest, and Lesson Learned Staff Officer contact lists for NATO Command Structure and NATO Force Structure Commands, HQs, Centres and other entities.
In May 2016, the NATO EXTRA Portal became an important feature of the newly established NATO Exercise Reporting and Handling of Lessons process, when it was adopted for use as the single central location for the upload and management of all NATO Exercise LIALs. Used to its full potential, the NATO EXTRA Portal will undoubtedly play a key role in the improvement of future NATO exercises and training events and contribute significantly to Alliance transformation. The NATO EXTRA Portal currently contains web-pages for 16 active and 13 archived exercises.
In the summer of 2016, ownership and management of the NATO EXTRA Portal will transition from the JALLC to Joint Force Trainer in HQ Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, who will take the lead in ensuring the Portal’s true potential is maximised in the future.
Would you like to read more about the NATO EXTRA Portal? A full JALLC Report detailing the development and testing of the EXTRA Portal as well as an EXTRA Portal User Manual can be found in the NATO Lessons Learned Portal on the NS WAN. Or to read the unclassified NATO EXTRA Portal brochure.
Looking back on June is like looking through the kaleidoscope of the all of the different types of activities the JALLC conducts on a regular basis. We have published reports, improved our standard operating procedures, provided training, welcomed distinguished guests, and still found time to celebrate summer and Portuguese traditions during this very productive month.
My project teams continue to work hard as spring turns into summer here in Lisbon. Currently we are managing nine active projects in various stages of the analysis process, from just starting up, through data collection and analysis, to finalizing and publishing reports. For example, this month we published our findings from our review of the International Military Staff (IMS) Crisis Management Organization (CMO) during Crisis Management Exercise 2016. These findings will go on to provide the Director General of the IMS with a greater understanding of how the IMS CMO might be improved in the future and presents requirements for potential further analysis.
I signed a revision to one of our project-related standard operating procedures (SOP) at the end of the month. This SOP sets out the writing and editorial standards of the JALLC and, as such, is of great importance to the JALLC as it ensures the high quality standards of all our written products; one of the hallmarks of the JALLC's contribution to NATO and its transformation. The revision of this SOP forms part of a bigger project to improve the way the JALLC conducts its joint analysis activities and follows the revision of the JALLC Project Approach . Further revisions and improvements are planned to our analysis report templates and other important standardized materials.
We have also been busy redesigning our factsheets over the past couple of months and have now published our new look factsheets on a number of recent projects including: NATO's Regional Focus Initiative, a Comprehensive Study on the Strategic Lessons Learned from ISAF, Exercise Trident Jaguar 2015, and the Evolution of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Forces. You can download copies of these factsheets here .
This month we welcomed a most distinguished guest to the JALLC; Chief of Staff (COS) HQ Supreme Allied Commander Transformation honoured us with a visit during which he presented his vision of ACT and the future of Transformation to the JALLC's staff during an all hands meeting. You will be able to read the full article on the COS' in the next edition of the Explorer which will be published next month but you can read a summary of his visit here.
It hasn’t been all work and no play at the JALLC; the Portuguese contingent at the JALLC, once again hosted their fantastic annual Sardinhada (sardine barbeque party) which is a traditional part of the summer culture here and, might I add, a delicious one too. Many thanks to the Host Nation and to the Portuguese officers and civilians who made the event such a success.
Looking forward to next month, my last at the JALLC and here in Portugal, there is still much to do to prepare for my successor and the new COS JALLC. A change of command is always a moment for reflection; an opportunity to look back and to look forward. It gives me great pleasure to know that I will leave the JALLC at the end of next month, transformed, active, and ready to be handed over to my successor, safe in the knowledge that I have achieved what I set out to do when I first arrived three years ago. My last From the Commander’s Desk will include an overview of some of the JALLC's main achievements over the last three years and I will take the opportunity to introduce the new Commander and COS.
"The Future of Lessons Learned: Improvement and Innovation"
The 13th NATO Lessons Learned Conference will be held from 29 to 30 November 2016 at the Portuguese Military Academy, Amadora, Portugal. Mark your calendars.
The aim of this Conference is to assess how NATO’s Lessons Learned Capability supports the Alliance’s ability for improvement and innovation.
In its approach to Continuous Improvement, the JALLC must identify and monitor all processes, assess the information and requirements, and determine how each process contributes to a specific objective. In support of this effort, the JALLC identified a training objective in the area of Business Process Management (BPM) and the adoption of a common and recognisable modelling system – the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) – to define a standard format for JALLC's business processes in accordance with formal semantics.
Twelve participants have already attended and successfully completed this demanding, comprehensive, and enlightening course, which primarily focuses on support functions. The course is taught by BPM and BPMN certified instructors from the Rumos Advanced Studies School in Lisbon. It is a 70–hour instruction divided into five modules that spread across a four months period
The BPM and BPMN course is expected to help JALLC streamline and improve its business processes for greater operational efficiency and effectiveness, enable closer collaboration between business and Information Technology spheres, and provide better visibility and flexibility of the business processes.
On 08 June 2016, the Chief of Staff (COS) for Allied Command Transformation (ACT) – Air Marshal Graham Stacey – visited the JALLC.
Based in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, ACT is the JALLC's superior command. The aim of the visit was to provide Air Marshal Stacey with an overview of JALLC’s Programme of Work, areas of interest, and the ongoing status of current Projects.
In a very informative working level discussion, ACT's Chief of Staff shared his innovative perspective of the way ahead for ACT and NATO's transformation in general with the JALLC's Command Group. Air Marshal Stacey also used this opportunity to address all of the JALLC staff in a general meeting. In this setting he expressed his appreciation for the analytical work being done at the JALLC. As a passionate believer in the Lessons Learned process, Air Marshal Stacey referred to the work the JALLC does as adding value to the Alliance in bridging NATO's operations and exercises with its policies and doctrine
His final message to the staff was: “The Alliance must be a peoples’ learning Organization, and the JALLC is critical in that process”.
On 30 and 31 May 2016 the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Allied Command Transformation (ACT) – Air Commodore Ralph Reefman – visited the JALLC.The purpose of the visit was to provide Air Commodore Reefman with an overview of the JALLC's mission, tasks, and activities, followed by working level discussions on how the JALLC can support the Air Commodore in his future assignment as Assistant Chief of Staff Defence Planning at Allied Command Transformation.
During the two-day visit, Air Commodore Refeeman participated in a JALLC Project Management Board meeting regarding the Strategic Assessment of the NATO Exercise Programme: a JALLC analysis project which is currently being conducted and for which he is the customer. During the meeting, he provided useful feedback and input which will go on to help shape the project findings. Customer engagement is an important part of the analysis process of all JALLC analysis projects and the JALLC's project teams always appreciate the opportunity to engage directly with their customers as often as possible to ensure the quality and usefulness of the JALLC's analysis products. You can find out more about how the JALLC conducts Joint Analysis by following this link.
Air Commodore Reefman valued the way the Strategic Assessment of the NATO Exercise Programme analysis is developing, referring to the hard intellectual work and team spirit of the project team.