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(JSEC picture by Captain Klaus Singer, DEU A)

May 20 2021

The next milestone - The Joint Support and Enabling Command successfully finishes its first participation in a major NATO exercise

Ulm, Germany – During the Command Post Exercise part of NATO's flagship exercise Steadfast Defender 2021, some 300 participants from 18 nations trained from 12 to 20 May to coordinate the rapid and seamless movement of virtual allied forces and their sustainment across European borders in a fictitious scenario.

It was the first time, the staff of the Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) took part in a large-scale NATO exercise, together with the Standing Joint Logistics Support Group (SJLSG), located in the Wilhelmsburg Barracks in Ulm as well. While JSEC focused on enabling the movement and integration of around 15.000 simulated forces in the Supreme Allied Commander Europe's (SACEUR) area of responsibility, the SJLSG focused on coordinating the projected forces and their consistent sustainment flow.

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Rear Admiral Jan Kaack (front m.), Commander of the Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger, Norway, and his team directed the command post exercise part of Steadfast Defender 2021. Besides, Lieutenant General (ret) Jan Broeks (front r.), Senior Mentor JSEC, assisted COM JSEC as well as JWC in preparing and conducting the exercise.  (JSEC picture by Airman First Class Gina Seegert, DEU AF)
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The Joint Evaluation Team of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) observed the performance and expertise of the training audience. (JSEC picture by Airman First Class Gina Seegert, DEU AF)
The exercise was an enormous challenge to the cooperation capabilities of all participating entities, being directed by the Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger, Norway, conducted by both, JSEC and SJLSG, reinforced and supported by the MN JHQ Ulm, and evaluated by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium.
My team has done an excellent job

After announcing the end of the exercise, Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe, JSEC Commander is more than happy with the outcome of this herculean task. "My team has done an excellent job," he pointed out, "we were able to experience many valuable insights and managed challenging situations in every single branch." From his point of view, the overall goal for JSEC was to learn how a headquarters on the operational level has to work hand in hand with the whole staff to solve the large number of challenges in the exercise successfully.

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In the Joint Operation Center, all relevant information is gathered to provide the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) with a common operational picture of his "rear area" (JSEC picture by Lieutenant Arnim Jungnickel, DEU N)
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Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Minister of Defence,visited the Joint Operations Centre of the JSEC during Steadfast Defender 2021. (JSEC picture by Lieutenant Arnim Jungnickel, DEU N)

The participation in the exercise was an important milestone on JSEC´'s path to full readiness in fall 2021. It also was a test-bed to evaluate and optimize JSEC's concept, structure, functionality and capabilities. In addition, the hygiene concept with the "3T" (Tracking, Temperature, Testing), including the execution of more than 4,000 rapid antigen tests, proved effective. Not one participant was tested positive on COVID-19 during the exercise.

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At the end of the exercise, Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe, JSEC Commander, rewarded participants who performed extraordinarily in their area of responsibility and beyond. (JSEC picture by Airman First Class Gina Seegert, DEU AF)

Steadfast Defender 2021 will continue, from 20 to 28 May, the exercise will see a large-scale maritime deployment across the Atlantic to the coast of Portugal. That part will focus on improving NATO's ability to protect and defend the Lines of Communication that enable transatlantic reinforcement. A significant number of ships with 5,000 participants from nine nations will take part.

In late May, NATO's annual Noble Jump will take place under the umbrella of the third phase of Steadfast Defender 2021.This will see the deployment of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, led by Turkey, to Romania. Some 4,000 troops from 12 countries will be involved.

Steadfast Defender 2021 is defensive in nature and is the first in a new series of long-planned NATO-led exercises to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate together and ready to deter and respond to any threat from any direction. It will train and evaluate a wide range of NATO Command and Force Structure headquarters

Story by Joint Support and Enabling Command Public Affairs Office

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