Decision taken to create common Nordic exercise plan

The Nordic countries have decided to create a combined and joint Nordic plan for military training and exercises for the next five years to come (2012-17).

Nordic participants of the NORDEFCO MCC meeting in Stockholm in September. In the foreground at the right, the four members of the Committée: (from left) Flemming Lentfer, Denmark, Mika Peltonen, Finland, Odd Werin, Sweden and Erik Gustavson, Norway. Photo: Niklas Ehlén/Försvarsmakten

The decision was taken at the latest MCC (Military Coordination Committée) meeting in Stockholm, SEP 13 2011. Members of the committée – three generals and one admiral representing the four Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden – decided to approve a proposal by a special joint working group, to commense common Nordic training and exercises via a joint plan from next year and on.

Rear Admiral (SWE) Odd Werin, Chairman of the MCC, explains the decision taken:
– The sharing of common Nordic resources is one of the prime goals of the Nordic defence cooperation. Training together, both on a joint level as well as in a combined manner, creates a lot of bonus´ effects compared to having to do it alone on national basis. Different Nordic countries have complimentary capabilities to use in exercises. One example is submarines, a weapons system that exists in the Norwegian and the Swedish Navy but, for instance, not in The Danish Navy. By training together the four Nordic countries can have training effects that otherwise would not be possible.

Admiral Werin continues:
– Another great example is cross border air force exercises. With the various experiences existing within the air forces of the Nordic countries, combined training can be immensely fruitful. Different air systems with different types of aircraft, training together in a large inter-Nordic airspace, it can only become better than doing it by yourself.

The admiral mentions the conceptions of (cooperation levels) ´joint´ and ´combined´. For many military officers this might be quite clear, but what does that really mean?

Admiral Werin explains:
– The concept of Joint training means different services, such as navy and air force, training together, which means the two arenas sea and air together, in the same exercise. Training in a ”combined” modus, well that´s for example one nations army units training together with at least one other nations army units. Thereby, on the land arena, reaching dimensions of ´wargaming´ possibilities in quite different ways than a single nation can afford today. In sizes of units and numbers of people, in variation of climate zones and terrain and, of course, in straight money for what training & exercising costs.

The decision means that a first step is now taken. The future holds possibilities for even larger gains when it comes to sharing resources of various kinds. Whether it be troops, terrain, time or training & exercise cost sharing.

Admiral Werin concludes:
– The national military organisations of our four Nordic countries will now have a common training and exercise plan. It is a prime step that will be further developed  by the years to come. Taking the Nordic viewpoint gives us good possibilities for higher effect and more cost effective solutions in the field of training and exercises.