Great interest in the Swedish Armed Forces' exercise CJSE 15

There was an important visit to Enköping on Tuesday 21 April. The multi-national exercise, in which the Swedish Armed Forces practised international conflict management together with participants from twenty or so other countries, was watched with great interest by a large delegation from Pakistan.

Everyone was very pleased with what they had seen and heard, and there was great interest in how the exercise was created and carried out. Photo: Elisabet Forsman/Swedish Armed Forces

There were about 1,200 personnel involved in the exercise carried out in Enköping, Uppsala and Karlskrona. Other groups with attachés from several countries and a number of civilians also watched the exercise, which aroused great interest.

The participants in the Pakistani delegation come from the National Defence University in Pakistan, and are here in Sweden to visit their Swedish counterparts, among other things. Since the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Swedish National Defence College, Brigadier General Axelsson, is participating in CJSE 15, they were able to watch the exercise. The participants are practising as a multinational staff group that is included in a peacekeeping initiative on commission from the UN. The game, which is completely computerised, is designed to be as realistic as possible, but it takes place in a fictitious country, of course.

To start with, the delegation was given a brief but efficient review which gave an overview of the exercise before they visited the various activities. They were guided by Sara Högström and Jan Jonasson, who had also planned the extensive preparations required for such visits, as the exercise goes on uninterrupted and cannot be broken off for visits.

Engaged and well-informed leaders explained to the delegations how the exercise takes place and how it is managed. The game management team controls the exercise through advanced software and adds events and activities, which the practised staff then act on. There are no units involved in this exercise - they are entirely simulated in the software. However, it is not only the Armed Forces that are involved. Civil authorities also take part in the game, there is a newspaper and even a TV channel. These aspects are to make it as realistic as possible.

There are also observers who watch how the work is carried out by the staff groups. They report to the game leaders, who can correct the actions if necessary. The staff groups must practice the right things, of course, so this function is important for achieving the goals of the exercise.

The aim is for participants - often students at defence colleges from different countries - to become proficient enough to be part of a multinational staff group in a UN supported operation. They can practice managing events in the present, or plan ahead for several days.

After a tour of the various activities, the delegations were given a final summary by Brigadier General Axelsson. Everyone was very pleased with what they had seen and heard, and there was great interest in how the exercise was created and carried out. Everyone agreed that this sort of international cooperation is important and gives valuable experience.