TSC wrapped up in Poland with a renewed focus on collaboration
The 2014 NATO Training Synchronisation Conference (TSC) ended in Warsaw, Poland on February 6 as over 250 participants gathered to discuss a wide variety of training, education and exercise issues.
The TSC began on Monday with the Combined NATO Command Structure (NCS)/NATO Force Structure (NFS) Training Community Meeting. The NCS/NFS meeting focused on Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) proposals and included presentations by the major stakeholders.
The second day of the conference started with the main TSC opening session where Spanish Navy Vice Admiral, Javier Gonzalez-Huix, Deputy Chief of Staff Joint Force Trainer (DCOS JFT), and Polish Army Major General Andrzej Falkowski, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, gave opening remarks that highlighted the importance of NATO training and education with an emphasis on their increased importance during these times of reduced defence budgets and shifting NATO posture from operations to readiness.
The DCOS JFT said, "We have high expectations for this conference as it is a unique opportunity to get together such a complete and numerous gathering of representatives of the training community". He continued, "...a lot of hard work has been done in advance, but I expect that this TSC will provide a substantial contribution to our demanding tasks in our long and winding road that leads to the Summit" [NATO Summit 2014 in Cardiff, Great Britain].
The conference this year consisted of 4 different sub-conferences. The first sub-conference, which concluded Monday, was the Combined NATO Command Structure and NATO Force Structure Training Community Meeting. Following that, the Partnership Training and Education Centres Commandants' Conference (PTEC CC) and the NATO Training and Exercise Conference (NTEC) started Tuesday after the opening session. The fourth sub-conference was the NATO Individual Training and Education Conference (NITEC) which started Wednesday and concluded on Thursday.
The aim of the PTEC CC is to integrate efforts in Education and Training and strengthening practical co-operation in order to meet current and future requirements.
The NTEC provided a forum for discussion on the draft MTEP 2015-2019, in accordance with Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)'s Annual Guidance on Education, Training, Exercises and Evaluation (SAGE). SAGE collects endorsements and observations from member nations to ensure their views and comments are taken into consideration for the final Military Training and Exercise Programme (MTEP). The NTEC was used to introduce to Member Nations and NATO's Partners training opportunities to the forum as well soliciting participation from across NATO.
In addition to the sub-conferences, the TSC also included an interactive display for the NATO training management system, called the electronic-Individual Training and Education Programme (e-ITEP), where national training representatives can access training requirements, courses, and many other resources. The interactive display was coupled with hands-on e-ITEP training available for those participants interested in learning more about the system. Another part of the interactive display included NATO's serious gaming solutions where commercial video game technology is combined with simulation software to provide innovative training solutions for NATO forces.
The third day of the conference provided a continuation of both PTEC CC and NTEC sub-conferences, as well as the start of the NITEC.
The NITEC focused on recent revisions to NATO's Education and Training Policy and how the new training landscape will be shaped for the 2014-2015 cycle. The NITEC discussions also focused on the Bi-Strategic Command Directive 75-7, the draft document that intends to codify international training standards at the individual level.
JFT also hosted a discussion on the NATO e-Learning Programme that was focused on looking out to 2016 and beyond. Participants discussed how to provide support to new systems and disciplines as well as "on demand" topics. They also discussed ways of better collaborating across a wide variety of NATO-related training organizations.
The final day of the TSC consisted of the last session for the NITEC sub-conference which included briefings on training quality insurance and sharing best practices along with s on ITEP and Training Technology. After the NITEC ended, the sub-conference leads provided backbriefs on their results and the JFT provided closing remarks.
In his closing remarks, Vice Admiral Gonzalez-Huix remarked that he was "very impressed and satisfied by the participation of everybody who attend the conference" and he was very thankful to Poland for hosting "such an exceptional event".
Overall, the conference provided a renewed focus on finding ways to better collaborate as well as a venue for capturing critical feedback from Nations on a wide range of training and education issues. This year turned out to be the largest and best represented TSC with 26 NATO Nations and 21 Partner Nations attending. There were also 15 Centres of Excellence (COEs) represented along with 22 PTECs.