By Mary Trier

maj gen jean berger‘Train as you fight’ is a common slogan among warfighters. The necessity to put trainees into dangerous environments before they get to theatre is vital – and it becomes even more important as military service members from various nations come together to fight a common enemy. As military members from NATO execute their missions all over the world, the training they receive to prepare them can include various methods of live, virtual and constructive training and simulation, but when achieved in a multi-national/joint environment, the training is even more effective.

In April over 1900 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from 27 countries participated in an exercise called Unified Endeavor. The exercise took place from 24 March to 9 April 2012, and brought troops and military leaders together in a single environment, while at the same time being disbursed in eight locations all over the globe, to conduct the training. According to a story by US Army Europe Public Affairs in the Fort Hood Sentinel (http://www.forthoodsentinel.com/story.php?id=8881), this is only the second time that national and international leaders and major headquarter structures, who are scheduled to go into Afghanistan, were being trained at once, allowing an unprecedented ability to weave exercise scenarios throughout national and international leadership.

One of the co-directors of the exercise was French Maj. Gen. Jean Fred Berger, commander of NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre. We spoke with Maj. Gen. Berger during ITEC about the exercise, and the importance of training together.

“The necessity of working closely together is very important,” he said. “Our friendships, relationships and our training must be focused for mutual benefits. We suffer the same challenges in the need to replace heavy equipment with more agile operational equipment and training for our units to be able to act in an international and very complex and challenging environment, and in high intensity operations. We must rely on, not only highly sophisticated solutions, but a combination – and our training must reflect the same. Simulation and training offers the ability to do that, even as the troops are disconnected (distributed).” He continued, “I believe this exercise was the best ever achieved.”

Unified Endeavor provided the platform for almost 2,000 military members (including civilians and contractors) to come together and train. The next time they operate together will be in Afghanistan. Team Orlando members played a supporting role in the work they do by delivering unique and interoperable training systems. Whether during the actual joint training exercise, or working together as part of the team by supporting the training needs and systems of the Joint and Coalition Warfighting Center in Hampton Roads, our thrust to provide the best training and simulation systems in the world for our warfighters (US or NATO) remains paramount. In the words of Maj. Gen. Berger, “to me, it is just common sense.”