NATO 2013 Training Synchronisation Conference (TSC) held in Riga, Latvia
Translated from the Latvian sources by 1LT (res.) Kārlis Līdaks, Latvian National Armed Forces. Technical Editor, Military Information Section, Military Information Department, Republic of Latvia Recruitment and Youth Guard Centre; Public Relations Adviser to the President of the European Military Press Association (EMPA)
The 2013 NATO Training Synchronisation Conference concluded on 24 January after 3 days of extensive discussions and collaboration. Nearly 180 participants from over 36 countries with representatives from the NATO Command structures, the NATO Member States and the Alliance Partner States had gathered for the event in Riga, Latvia.
This annual event brings together the NATO training planners, and provides an opportunity to discuss their pr
ofessional development and share their training experiences. The conference is organized on a rotating basis and this year’s conference was held in Latvia for the first time, while in previous years, the conference was organized in Estonia and Lithuania.
Many important results came out of this conference to include the NATO Nations endorsing the draft Military Training and Exercise Programme (MTEP) 2014-2018, the unveiling of the new electronic individual training and education programme (e-ITEP), numerous Nations offering to host future exercises, and even consensus on several key decisions. Additionally, feedback from Nations was also very supportive of the move of the electronic MTEP (e-MTEP) to the NATO Unclassified network, allowing greater coordination.
The TSC continues to prove its importance in moving NATO forward toward managing education and training in a more efficient and effective manner. German Air Force Lieutenant General Karlheinz Viereck, Joint Force Trainer Deputy Chief of Staff for NATO Allied Command Transformation, reiterated the importance of the event. “This is the most important education an
d training meeting we have during the year,” he said. “It is the synchronisation conference to have a holistic approach between the education side, the training side, and the exercise side.” General Viereck affirmed NATO plans to continue organizing its exercises and training events in Latvia. He stressed the need for NATO exercises to be connected with member states’ national exercises. “We need to change the present structure and link the NATO exercises with national exercises more efficiently,” said General Viereck.
The Latvian National Armed Forces (NAF) Chief of the Joint Staff Brigadier General Juris Zeibarts acknowledged the event’s importance. “The TSC is essential to Latvia and it contributes a great deal to our National Armed Forces; it’s all about sharing ideas with others,” he said.
The NATO Allied Command Transformation Joint Force Trainer D
eputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Karlheinz Viereck was awarded with the Latvian Chief of Defence Medal for Merit, 1st Grade at a special ceremony in the Latvian Ministry of Defence, for his contribution to the development of the Latvian defence system, support for Latvia’s hosting of high-level NATO exercises Steadfast Pyramid 2011 and Steadfast Pinnacle 2011 as well as for his assistance in strengthening the Latvian-German bilateral cooperation.
The conference was divided into two separate sub-conferences each lasting about a day and a half. During the first 2 days of the conference, participants took part in the combined education forum and the NATO Individual Training and Education Conference (NITEC). The second portion of the TSC consisted of the NATO Training and Exercise Conference (NTEC).
The conference also saw the unveiling of the new NATO training management system, called e-ITEP, where national training representatives can access training requirements, courses, and many other resources. The e-ITEP system resulted from a collaborative effort between NATO and Industry (specifically Raytheon Professional Services).
The TSC remains the primary venue for NATO, Partner Nations, and other stakeholders to discuss the current education and training activities, but also future initiatives. The TSC helps to maintain those critical connections between all education and training stakeholders.
By hosting this conference, Latvia has demo
nstrated its capability to organize high-level international conferences. Last year Latvia has hosted a number of important international training exercises, this fall it will share the hosting of the NATO exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013 which will be simultaneously held in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland.
Further detail on the Individual Training and Education Programme (ITEP), along with the e-ITEP can be found at e-nato.act.nato.int