Blue Shield International (BSI) was invited to support NATO Exercise Steadfast Jackal 2022 (STJA 22), commencing the start of BSI’s support for NATO’s exercise season.
STJA 22 is sponsored by SHAPE and directed by NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre (JWC). It aims to plan and conduct a non-Article 5 Small Joint Operation against terror groups contesting NATO, mainly in the Land, Cyber, and Air Domains in North and West Africa regions.
Exercise engagement was preceded by a preparatory Human Environment workshop run by and for the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps in Italy (NRDC-ITA) that took place on 3rd and 4th March 2022. NRDC-ITA are the primary training audience for STJA 22. To enable the planners to prepare for the planning phases of STJA 22, the NRDC-ITA aimed to integrate key aspects of the Protection of Civilians into the workshop, with a focus on Cross Cutting Topics (CCTs). CCTs are a range of different topics, including Cultural Property Protection (CPP), which may otherwise fall out of the military’s primary responsibilities. They require military and non-military stakeholders to work together and are relevant for all NATO branches and areas of a NATO mission.
The two-day workshop was attended by Dr Emma Cunliffe on behalf of BSI and included participants and instructors from civilian academics and senior military leaders from the NATO Force Structure. Multiple branches of NATO were in attendance, including Plans, Intelligence, and Civil-Military Coordination. Humanitarian NGOs also attended the workshop, including PAX.
The Blue Shield’s contribution to this event began with Dr Cunliffe’s presentation on CPP and understanding the human environment. The presentation aimed to highlight how CPP can be treated as an element of mission risk, and specifically focused on how to train in successful CPP as part of operational planning across various mission stages. Dr Cunliffe also spoke on CPP and Targeting. The importance of planning specific risk mitigation measures was outlined, and particular attention was given to the issues surrounding the identification of cultural property in urban areas.
The workshop also involved a scenario activity, led by PAX, which took place in the afternoon. The audience was split into groups and explored challenges concerning a selection of CCT topics, including CPP, Protection of Civilians (PoC), and Children And Armed Conflict (CAAC).
The workshop was well-received by the audience, with very positive feedback from all attendees.
Blue Shield also attended the first event in the planning phase of STJA 22 on 24th March 2022, a briefing day for the NRDC-ITA training audience, dedicated to IO and NGO activities in the (fictional) mission area for the exercise.
The Blue Shield’s continued support for NATO exercises, and the importance of including CPP in exercise planning, is acknowledged by Dr Cunliffe: