Training and Exercises for
Partnership for Peace
General Helge Hansen
Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe

As some of you may know, I was born in Dresden in the officers' quarters of the former military academy. I left the city in 1943 and returned to Dresden for the NATO Workshop as Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe. It means a lot to me to be in a city that is building up again, in a united Germany, in a reunited Europe, and to address a transatlantic audience.


Let me turn now to the subject of training and holding exercises within the Alliance. Needless to say, as a consequence of the changes in our security environment, a reduction in forces, the restructuring of our command structure, the new multinational dimension, and the vastly expanded and extended mission spectrum, the requirements for training and holding exercises have dramatically changed. We must now change our training and exercise philosophy, develop new concepts, and pursue our programs vigorously.

The mission spectrum that used to consist simply of high-intensity conflict now ranges from search and rescue to humanitarian assistance to peace-support operations up to high-intensity conflict; it is obvious that this development requires totally new answers. Since the lower end of the mission spectrum--search and rescue, peace-support operations, and humanitarian assistance--includes our Partnership for Peace (PFP) Partners, coordination with them is one of the most important features and preconditions of our new training and exercise requirements.

Partnership for Peace exercises have now gained almost a 50% share in our overall exercise program. The Central Region is at the forefront of these exercises and needs to accommodate the majority of PFP exercise initiatives in this theater. The short-term objective is clear: to be better able to operate with Alliance forces, with our PFP neighbors, in the spectrum of search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping operations. We plan to concentrate on what the Alliance military structure can do best, and leave to the individual nations what they can do best. The long-term goal is to develop forces that are better able to operate with the NATO Alliance in the full spectrum of operational missions.


In the Central Region last year we held two exercises, COOPERATIVE SPIRIT in the Netherlands and COOPERATIVE BRIDGE in Poland. Militarily, these were very low-level exercises, comprised mainly of platoon and company-level forces. But the political importance of these exercises was high: for the first time on Polish soil and for the first time on Netherlands soil, armed forces of Alliance and Partnership for Peace nations got together and started training for peacekeeping operations. In addition, the preparation for these exercises involved staff officers of all levels, and so the exercises also contributed to training the staff personnel for the multinational headquarters we need to set up in the future.

Let me now turn to the 1995 program in particular. Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe has embarked on a new series of exercises under the umbrella title "CENTRAL ECLECTIC." Exercise CENTRAL ECLECTIC 1995 in late June is the first out of area peacekeeping exercise at the Major Subordinate Command (MSC) level, as well as the first Partnership for Peace exercise at the operational level. We started with seminars, workshops, and planning sessions, not just to plan the exercise as such, but also to enter into a full cycle of operational planning. By doing so, we educated ourselves and our Partnership for Peace colleagues in how to develop operational campaign plans for peace support, search and rescue, and humanitarian operations. Next year we will take developments one stage further and use the scenario developed in CENTRAL ECLECTIC for a full scale Command Post Exercise and set up a multinational joint peacekeeping headquarters. This exercise will be known as Exercise COMPACT GUARD 96.

Our 1995 program will conclude this autumn with two brigade level exercises: One, Exercise COOPERATIVE CHALLENGE, in the Czech Republic and the other, Exercise COOPERATIVE LIGHT, in Hungary. At the same time Allied Command Baltic Approaches has been running a series of seminars, leading to a series of maritime exercises called Exercise COOPERATIVE JAGUAR.

The principal element in our 1996 program will be Exercise COMPACT GUARD which I have already mentioned. It will be linked to SACEUR's AMF(L) crisis management exercise, Exercise ADVENTURE EXPRESS. This therefore will be the first time the AMF(L) has participated in the PFP program, and it will furnish the principal element of the land component. We will also exercise a multinational joint logistics command and a joint movement coordination center along the lines of those which may have to be set up to support operations in former Yugoslavia. We envisage a series of modular staff cells like these to ensure that we have the necessary capabilities readily available for all sorts of crisis responses in the future. Involving our PFP Partners in the running of these modules means that we could readily absorb their personnel should this be required.


In NATO-led U.N. peacekeeping missions, we must plan, deploy forces, and sustain forces. To do this we must train and exercise realistically. We need to use real geography for obvious reasons, but also generic political geography. We must have a view of our mission spectrum and do it jointly with our PFP Partners.

Clearly, we should go for quality instead of quantity in our exercises and our training. Sometimes a little less is a lot more; political initiatives may speed up a program, but they may also overtax the structure and overtax the main players in the game. We should not overtax ourselves, we should "Crawl before we walk, and walk before we run." We need time. As a non-native English speaker, I know that it is a tremendous challenge to think continually in a foreign language. Our PFP Partners must operate in totally different military headquarters, command structures and cultures, and this is very, very exhausting. We must take that into account. So in my view, we should have the courage to confine ourselves to what can be achieved and not push for success at all costs. We also need to establish the degree of continuity that is required to pursue these kinds of activities and develop a concept and methodology that allows for planning. We are engaged in a great challenge, a totally new dimension and, as a professional, I believe it to be extremely rewarding work.

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