CIMIC Messenger 2019-12

Dear CIMIC/CMI Community,

DIRECTOR CCOE: Colonel Frank van Boxmeer MSc

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you this year’s final edition of the CIMIC Messenger.

The idea of our CIMIC Messenger is to connect people and share knowledge in the field of CIMIC/CMI. The content of this edition is:

  • a reflection on the Multinational CIMIC Command Nienburg’s exercise Joint Cooperation which the CCOE supported together with many other civil and military actors from the working field of CIMIC;
  • coverage of the CCOE’s yearly Coordinating Committee meeting in which next year’s Program of Work is approved;
  • a CIMIC Lessons Learned and Analysis publication;
  • the CCOE’s support to the Legal Training Centre of the Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) and
  • a link to an actual attention-grabbing article “Manoeuvring in the Hybrid Environment” in which the authors emphasize that the military and other actors must understand that effectiveness in a hybrid environment heavily depends on cooperation with others – both in the military internally (cross domain cooperation) and with(in) the non-military domains.

You can consider the latter being an understatement but the power is in the repetition! Whatever the context, careful synchronisation from the beginning is key and CIMIC as an integrator has an important role to play. I especially consider it the CCOE’s responsibility to enduringly educate the minds of those who have a role to play in CIMIC because in the end the work is done by people; it is the human factor that is often decisive!

Therefore, like in 2019, the CCOE has many CIMIC projects lined up next year and I am sure that with the enthusiasm and persistence of the CCOE’s internal staff and external sponsors in the field of CIMIC we will be able to complete also those successfully.
I thank the CCOE staff and all of you for the great contributions made this year and I look forward to continuing our close engagement in 2020, working together to enhance CIMIC.  

Finally, I take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to you and your relatives for a safe, happy holiday and a very Happy New Year.

Enjoy reading, make use of the information provided and pass it on. You know where to find us: see you in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice!

Best Regards,

Colonel Frank van Boxmeer MSc

Joint Cooperation 2019 – CIMIC in practice and identifying the best practices 

Exercise Joint Cooperation 2019, Photo: © OR-8 Alyssa Bier, CCOE

The annual exercise Joint Cooperation is organized by the Multinational CIMIC Command Nienburg and is widely known for its value and broad CIMIC training opportunities for the Tactical Level. Again, this year the CCOE was asked to take care of the evaluation and to identify the CIMIC best practices; there were many!


The exercise is planned and conducted by the MN CIMIC Cmd. JOCO 19 took place from 28 October – 08 November 2019, including one day of academic lectures and a one-week preparation phase.  In total 369 soldiers and civilians from 23 countries participated in JOCO 19.

The aim of this year’s exercise Joint Cooperation was:

“Apply CIMIC Core Competencies in a multinational environment in order to strengthen interoperability and cooperation within the CIMIC-Community”.

This aim included the following objectives:

  • Contribution of a multinational G9 (CIMIC)-Branch to the Military Planning Process within a NATO Article 3 Scenario;
  • Apply fieldworker’s knowledge and skills within a multinational CIMIC Support Unit;
  • Establish relationships between CIMIC and non-military actors (NMA);
  • Provide an environment for military and civil partners to create mutual understanding.

Joint Cooperation is principally a field training exercise (FTX) for multinational CIMIC Support Units but also trains planning and leadership on brigade headquarter level. The training area includes the districts of Nienburg (Weser) and Verden as well as the region Hanover (Germany).  In addition to the multinational Training Audience (TA), more than 150 role players from local administrations, private sector, emergency and rescue services and the local population of the districts of Nienburg, Verden and the region of Hanover supported the exercise.

The FTX is based on NATO’s SKOLKAN scenario. All scripted events were closely related to real-world topics. Furthermore, NATO’s Cross Cutting Topics, as stated in the AJP 3.19, were reflected in the script. Within this context, the Training Audience (TA) had to assess the civil environment. During the exercise, CIMIC has been scripted to be the appropriate facilitator of this assessment due to its close link to civil structures, local population and a diverse range of organizations.

During the exercise, the TA was split into two CIMIC Support Units (North and South) including two CIMIC Centers, Liaison-, Project-, Reconnaissance- and Assessment Teams, and a G9 function.


NATO’s Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) function has been continuously adjusted and advanced to meet contemporary contextual challenges including the concept of Resilience through Civil Preparedness. Tasks deriving from NATO’s Resilience concept at the moment do not include Tactical Level assignments. Up to now, CIMIC’s tactical personnel is primarily seen in a supporting role, facilitating Resilience assessments through their close ties to civilian actors and structures.  Based on NATO’s shifting focus and resulting changes within CIMIC, the MN CIMIC Cmd executed this year’s exercise Joint Cooperation (JOCO 19) within an Article 3 frame-work; thereby testing the ability of CIMIC field- and staff worker to contribute to a comprehensive Resilience assessment and fact finding mission. As in 2018, exercise evaluation (EXEVAL) was led by the CIMIC Centre of Excellence (CCOE), supported by a multinational team of experienced CIMIC personnel. EXEVAL used ACO Forces Standards as a guiding document but did not conduct a NATO CREVAL, as agreed at the Main Planning Conference. Not bound to NATO CREVAL, the evaluation concept was instead tailored to meet the unique features and requirements of a CIMIC exercise.

The Training Objectives of JOCO 19 covered essential CIMIC skills, which field- and staff workers must be able to perform in, at all types of operations and environments. They included individual performance during meetings with civil actors as well as processes within multinational Units and Staff. Additionally, the TA’s general awareness and handling of Cross Cutting Topics and Media have been taken into consideration.

The evaluation was guided by NATO standards and doctrines, e.g. AJP 3.19, respective TTPs and CIMIC Handbook Edition 5 (online version). Fixed standards were essential to guarantee a coherent grading system of the multinational evaluation team. A coherent approach was further enhanced by a quantitative evaluation approach. All interactions between TA and civil actors, as well as corresponding reports, processes and workflow, were also assessed using a questionnaire with different sets of questions for each Training Objective. Additional qualitative remarks were captured separately in ODCR format (Observation, Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation).

By testing an Article 3 scenario, MN CIMIC Cmd has challenged CIMIC Staff and Fieldworker’s abilities to fine-tune to unfamiliar settings. Furthermore, it has tested the adaptability of CIMIC procedures and tools to new challenges and tasks. Considering the rapidly changing environment in which NATO operates, testing the applicability in different circumstances is crucial. Challenges in assessing and reporting within new systems, experienced by the TA during JOCO 19, emphasize this necessity. Furthermore, it highlights the benefits of variation in training. Regardless of the scenario, may it be Resilience through Civil Preparedness, Crisis Response or Disaster Relief, CIMIC staff- and fieldworker must be able to operationalize civil-military cooperation. A successful performance depends on competences and skills that are relevant in all mission environments but may have to be adjusted to different actual circumstances. Being flexible and able to adjust to new settings is a crucial factor for successful civil-military cooperation.

In addition to this innovative perspective, Joint Cooperation offers a unique training opportunity for NATO requirements identified in the CIMIC Training Requirement Analysis 2019. Consequently, it  significantly contributes to collective training in the field of CIMIC.

Furthermore, due to its multinational character, Joint Cooperation is an interesting hub for CIMIC discussions and networking. It encourages open intercultural communication, fosters the exchange of experience and information and points out training needs and research gaps.

The outcome was that the exercise Joint Cooperation definitely achieved its aim to “Apply CIMIC Core Competencies in a multinational environment in order to strengthen interoperability and cooperation within the CIMIC-Community”. The CCOE is looking forward evaluating next year’s edition of “JOINT COOPERATION in the field of CIMIC”!

Passing the Hammer: CCOE Coordinating Committee Meeting 2019

COL DEU-A Andreas Timm assumes chairmanship of the CCOE Coordinating Committee from COL DNK-A Thomas Funch Pedersen

Photo: © OR-4 Michael Rein, CCOE

On 12 and 13 November 2019, the annual meeting of the CCOE Coordinating Committee took place in The Hague. The Coordinating Committee is the executive multinational body for decision, supervision and policy guidance of the CCOE. The Coordinating Committee consists of one representative nominated by each Sponsoring Nation.

During the two-day meeting, the Director CCOE informed the members of the Coordinating Committee on the milestones and achievements of 2019. To name only a few, almost 350 students attended our 15 (domestic and satellite) courses. Road Shows were conducted to inform the CIMIC Community of Interest on CIMIC developments, AJP 3.19, Cross Cutting Topics, Resilience through Civil Preparedness. Furthermore, the book “Analysis Makes the Difference” (a result of our Workshop in October 2018) was published.

Pointed out was that there is an increased interest of NATO for the products and services of the CCOE. This increased interest was factually visible in the persons of BGen Bernard Lebrun, SHAPE ACOS J9 and LTC Riccardo Costa, on behalf of BGen Philippe Boisgontier from HQ SACT, who attended the meeting. BGen Lebrun expressed the importance of the close working relationship between the CCOE and ACO-SHAPE J9. Exemplary is combining the CCOE’s Community of Interest Seminar together with SHAPE J9’s CIMIC Key Leader Conference. A joint endeavour that will be continued in 2020.

COL Thomas Funch Pedersen and COL Andreas Timm, Photos: © OR-4 Michael Rein, CCOE

After looking back at 2019, a challenging Program of Work for 2020 was proposed to, and accepted by, the Coordinating Committee. Not only the execution of the 2020 Program of Work is important to the CCOE; the CCOE will undergo a  re-accreditation assessment by ACT in the first half of 2020 as a NATO Education and Training Facility. Furthermore, in the second half of 2020, the CCOE will undergo ACT Periodic Assessment as a NATO Centre of Excellence. Noteworthy is that Italy is expected to join the CCOE as Sponsoring Nation in 2020 and will reinforce the CCOE with a staff officer in Training and Education. Two Italian officers therefore attended the Coordinating Committee meeting as observers.

The 20th Meeting of the CCOE Coordinating Committee ended with passing the Hammer from COL Thomas Funch Pedersen to COL Andreas Timm (photo on the right), who will be the Chairman for the next year.

Lessons Learned and Analysis

The Lessons Learned and Analysis Branch (LL&A) of the CCOE shifted focus in 2019. In 2018 LL&A was much involved in the topic Comprehensive Analysis and Civil-Military Information Sharing. The Lessons Learned capacity was much focused on CCOE’s internal processes and procedures. This changed in the last month significantly. CCOE established a new Lessons Management System that synchronizes the collection and processing of observations and lessons that have been collected in-house but also by participating in NATO exercises or analysing exercise and mission reports. Observations from TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 (TRJE 18) have been collected, structured and will be analysed with the involvement of different stakeholders. Therefore LL&A is engaging with the Norwegian Directorate of Civil Protection, Exercise participants from 1. German Netherlands Corpse and Multinational CIMIC Command to identify root causes and develop recommendations for further action. Furthermore, LL&A personnel participated in TRIDENT JUPITER 2019-1 (TRJU 2019-1) to collect first-hand observations and is preparing them for further processing. This is also in support of the exercise TRJU 2019-2, which is the second part of this exercise campaign. Looking into the upcoming year 2020, LL&A will participate in TRJU 2019-2 and STEADFAST JUPITER/JACKAL 2020 (STJU/JA 20) to collect more observations and verify the recently implemented Lessons Management System.

Female Engagement Teams

Female US soldier with children

The complexity of different civil-military environments is closely linked to gender relations. Despite this, the incorporation of gender mainstreaming within the mission has been limited. One example are the use of Female Engagement Teams  by the UK and US militaries to ‘win the hearts and minds’ of local Afghan population. The Lessons Learned and Analysis Branch of the CCOE had a deeper look into the concept of Female Engagement Teams and to what extent this was successful and what lessons can be learned. For more details have a look at the Lessons Learned Observation Paper on Female Engagement Teams.

Law meets CIMIC in Jinja, Uganda

By Captain Jantine van Delft, Legal Advisor CCOE

In May 2018 I had the privilege of traveling to Jinja, Uganda, for the first time. I had traveled to Africa a couple of times before, but never in a professional capacity and never to Uganda. Though it was my first time, the Legal Training Centre-project I joined had been running for four years already, for it was  established in 2015. In May 2019 I got to travel to Jinja again to support another course and a couple of weeks ago, in November 2019, I found myself there for one last time with a slightly different mission; handing over a donation on behalf of the CCOE. Since I am very excited about this project and our contribution to it has come to an end this year, I would like to use this opportunity to share a little bit about it with you.

The goal of the LTC-project was to strengthen the military legal service of the Ugandan People Defense Forces (UPDF) by sharing knowledge of International Humanitarian Law and Operational Law. This was not only done by Dutch military lawyers from all services, but also their British counterparts. In total, 40 military lawyers taught 29 classes to students not only from Uganda, but also Burundi, Kenia, Rwanda, Tanzania and South-Sudan. By doing so, we have indirectly contributed to several peace keeping missions, such as the African Union’s mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Photos: © OF-2 Jantine van Delft, CCOE

In order to support the LTC in making a difference now and in the future, the CCOE donated a total of 38 laptops this November that were no longer in use and had been replaced. These laptops were still perfectly suitable for study purposes and were therefore equipped with all course materials, such as literature, presentation and background videos. They were of course happily accepted by the commander of the LTC and will now be incorporated in courses that will be conducted independently by the teaching staff of the LTC.

Photos: © OF-2 Jantine van Delft, CCOE

Though the staff sometimes have a different approach to conducting a course then we do, we did manage to work together in a fruitful way and I am confident that they will continue the work for many years to come. Teaching military lawyers from different countries, units, cultures and social backgrounds. I for one have learned a lot, have made new friends and will never forget this experience.  It has been my pleasure to have made a contribution to this project and I am proud to have had the privilege of handing over a donation on behalf of the CCOE. Though the project revolves around sharing knowledge of the law, I am convinced its influence extends much further to (cross-cutting) topics that are of great importance to the CIMIC community as well!

Manoeuvring in the Hybrid Environment

On the Importance of Cooperation, Resilience and Strategic Thinking

Via by Lieutenant General Ton van Loon (ret.) and Susan Verstegen MA

Photo: © NATO

European NATO countries should formulate their interests and build common capabilities to secure them, thereby providing a more balanced alliance – both in capacities and interests. Moreover, we must realise that we live in a world in which we cannot choose our conflicts. Conflicts will choose us and will demand our action. To deal with opponents that exploit the hybrid environment, NATO should also embrace comprehensiveness and exploit the full scope of its strengths. We should realise that in today’s social media dominated world, perceptions are at least as important as, if not more important than, actions themselves. That requires careful synchronisation of military and non-military capabilities, both in national and transnational contexts.

Read the whole article or download as pdf.

The CCOE CIMIC Messenger is a publication of the CIMIC Centre of Excellence. Its dedicated aim is to provide a forum or platform for stimulating and presenting innovative and comprehensive thinking on NATO CIMIC and Civil-Military Interaction (CMI) related issues such as Mission experiences, concepts, doctrine or lessons learned. The views and opinions expressed or implied in the CCOE CIMIC Messenger are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of NATO, of any national armed Forces or those of CCOE.

“See you in The Hague!”