STJU-JA20 was a Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) sponsored strategic, operational, and tactical-level joint command post exercise that trained and evaluated selected NATO Command Structure (NCS) and NATO Force Structure (NFS) headquarters in planning for and executing an out-of-area non-article 5 crisis response operation at regional scale in NATO Strategic Direction South.
STJU-JA20 provided the first opportunity for NATO higher military headquarters to exercise crisis response operations at a regional scale, to plan for and conduct two interrelated but distinct small joint operations with the assistance of theatre components (TCs), and to practice the projection of stability to North and West African regions in a fictitious but realistic scenario.
While taking into consideration the already established COVID-19 mitigations measures at all locations, it was deliberately decided by the chief of staff SHAPE to endorse the course of action (COA), which confirmed the execution of STJU-JA20 without international movement of personnel.
As a result of the movement restrictions above, the CBRN Joint Assessment Team (CBRN-JAT, CZE) Commander requested the JCBRN Defence COE Director to consider deployment of the CBRN-JAT to the JCBRN Defence COE. As a result, with the CBRN-JAT personnel located at the JCBRN Defence COE they would have full access to both NATO systems and exercise battle rhythm events.
The JCBRN Defence COE representatives have been involved in the exercise since the very beginning. They have primarily supported the exercise specification (EXSPEC) process, main event list / main incident list (MEL/MIL) incident development and scripting in the CBRN defence area. Furthermore, the NATO CBRN Reachback Element (RBE) played the role of secondary training audience (STA), providing timely technical / scientific and operational CBRN expertise, assessments and advise to NATO commanders.
The JCRBN Defence COE was able to take advantage of having the CBRN-JAT under the same roof and further interoperability with the NATO CBRN RBE has been exercised. It has been proven that both elements were not only able to provide qualified analysis but also work side by side as a comprehensive team.
STJU-JA20 was a very successful major joint exercise even though facing COVID-19 limitations. Respective CBRN incidents generated fruitful discussion and coordination throughout all training levels. STJU-JA20 has shown that Alliance members were able to cooperate and work together under such unfavourable conditions.
Author/Photo: Lieutenant Colonel Radek Tomáš, TEED Deputy Director, JCBRN Defence COE, CZE – A