During the first week of February 2016,
the Deployable Air Command and Control Centre (DACCC), Poggio Renatico, Italy,
hosted the Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) exercise Ramstein APEX for the third
APEX16 focused mainly on the NATO Joint
Force Air Component (JFAC) function providing to the newly arrived staff at
AIRCOM the first training opportunity in a JFAC environment and within their
respective JFAC roles. This practical training comes after the Initial
Functional JFAC Training, a course also provided by the DACCC.
More than 180 people deployed to Poggio
Renatico for APEX16 - mainly from HQ AIRCOM at Ramstein, Germany, the Combined
Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany, and Torrejon, Spain, and the DACCC as
well as from the NATO Force Structure and other National Air Forces.
The personnel participating in APEX16
were split into two main components: the Primary Training Audience (PTA) and
the Exercise Direction and Exercise Control (EXDIR/EXCON) staff. The "Mission
Ready Qualified” EXDIR/EXCON members were made available from all AIRCOM organisations
mentoring and supervising the PTA, step-by-step taking them into the processes
and functions of their respective JFAC roles.
APEX16 is a Command
Post Exercise/Synthetic Exercise (CPX/SYNEX) that uses a special fictitious scenario
to maximize training in the JFAC roles allowing flexibility and adaptability
accommodating the exercise specifications and training objectives.
In his farewell
speech DACCC Commander, Royal Netherlands Air Force Major General Andreas
Kraak, who assumed command on the 1 January 2016, addressed the APEX16
participants underlining the necessity and importance for NATO to continue
having the exercise. "APEX16 is a unique opportunity for training and
interoperability among personnel from different Air Forces,” he said. "In
APEX16 it is essential to be adequately ready for the real operations.” The
DACCC Commander also awarded Certificates of Appreciation to 14 superior
performers who contributed greatly to the very positive outcome of APEX16. All
participants met well over 90 percent of more than 70 established training
objectives. A most successful APEX16 exercise held at the DACCC Poggio Renatico
was last, but not least, excellently enabled by the outstanding support from
the local NATO Communications and Information Agency detachment and the
co-located Italian Air Force Air Operation Command.
Story by LtCol Nicola Bolzan and Maj William Evans, DACCC