NATO Adds 400 Bureaucrats

On 8 September 2021, Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) declared Full Operational Capability (FOC) and marked the occasion with a ceremony presided over by its Commander, Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe. Distinguished guests included the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod Wolters, the German State Secretary, Thomas Silberhorn, and the Director General of the NATO International Military Staff, Lieutenant General Hans-Werner Wiermann.

Since achieving its Initial Operational Capability in September 2019, the 400 JSEC staff members – from 20 NATO Nations – have been relentlessly training and practising an array of tasks and assignments to identify shortfalls and address them. The most prominent was its successful participation in the NATO-exercise Steadfast Defender 2021, proving it had reached full capability.

Opening the ceremony, Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe acknowledged the importance of this achievement. “Steadfast Defender 2021 was a vital milestone in the establishment of this operational-level NATO headquarters on its way to full readiness. I can state, that this exercise made us fit for the purpose we were designed for, which is to optimize the rapid deployment of NATO troops into, across and from Europe”.

By declaring FOC, JSEC is now ready to facilitate the enablement of Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s Area of Responsibility, by accelerating, coordinating, and safeguarding the movement of allied follow-on forces across European borders, whenever required as a fundamental prerequisite to deliver the intended effects for credible deterrence and successful defense of the NATO Alliance. In peacetime, JSEC will function as a networking capability among the respective European Nations, which will retain sovereignty and responsibility for their own countries in any case.

After the official declaration ceremony, participants were able to attend a series of panel discussions aimed at explaining the role and responsibilities of this newest Command. In his panel, the Director General of the NATO International Military Staff, Lieutenant General Wiermann highlighted that “NATO needs a new approach to Enablement and JSEC has now the capabilities to connect the dots in Europe and to tackle one of the most difficult challenges: Moving forces through our continent. This requires an Enabling Command and this requires JSEC”.

The Joint Support and Enabling Command is the second command to reach Full Operational Capability this year. Earlier this year, the Allied Joint Force Command Norfolk reached this milestone.

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