Unique in the World

BERLIN/NIENBURG (WESER) |

BERLIN/NIENBURG (WESER) (Own report) - The German Bundeswehr is holding another exercise oriented on "Civil-Military Cooperation" (CIMIC) in the context of military interventions. The "Joint Cooperation" exercise will take place in Nienburg County (Lower Saxony) at the end of the month primarily with the participation of soldiers from NATO member countries, and with troops from countries, officially claiming neutrality, such as Austria and Sweden. According to the scenario of the exercise, which has been drawn up in all details, so-called CIMIC forces will operate in a fictitious country at the Horn of Africa that has become the scene of a bloody civil war provoked by a neighboring nation. The unit specialized in "civil-military cooperation" must "assess" the war zone population's situation, to provide the military command the "necessary information" for its "operational planning." The scenario shows a number of parallels to NATO's current large-scale "Trident Juncture" exercise, which also focuses on combating an "aggressor nation," covertly supporting one party to the civil war in the neighboring country. Reference to the situation in Ukraine is explicitly desired.

First in the Theatre of Operation

The German Bundeswehr announced that its "Civil-military Cooperation" (CIMIC) Center, located in Nienburg (Lower Saxony), will hold another exercise focused on cooperation with civilian relief organizations under combat conditions. The so-called "Joint Cooperation 2015" maneuver will be held from October 30 to November 6 with soldiers from eleven NATO member countries participating alongside troops from officially neutral Austria and Sweden. According to the CIMIC Center's commander, Colonel Wolfgang Paulik, the "Joint Cooperation 2015" exercise is "unique in the world."[1] All actors will have "complex, sophisticated and challenging tasks."[2] The objective is "to be the first to deploy a contingent in the theatre of operations, to be the first to deploy soldiers with a new mandate and, de facto, enter a foreign region."[3]

Command Headquarters in Germany

The "Joint Cooperation 2015" scenario begins with the invasion into the fictitious "Cerasia" region at the Horn of Africa by an EU intervention force. According to the scenario, the country "Tytan" is threatened by its "aggressive" neighbor "Kamon," which, using an extremely aggressive ethnic policy, is seeking to take control of its oil fields in the border province of "Tori." "Kamon" therefore is using the "Elkaim militia," known to already have carried out "ethnic cleansing" in "Kamon" itself, and is now particularly active in the "Tori" province. Due to its own desperate economic situation and because of the "influx of refugees" from "Kamon," "Tytan" is in no position to counter this aggression and has called on the UN for help. The UN, in turn, empowered the EU to dispatch military forces to "Tytan" ("European Union Force Tytan/EUFOR-T") to "stabilize security" and support an OSCE observer mission also active in "Tytan." The command of the EU's intervention forces operation will be provided by the Operations Command Headquarters in Potsdam and the "Multinational Joint Headquarters Ulm" [4] of the German Armed Forces will provide the staff for the headquarters at the site of deployment.[5]

With Red Cross and THW

On the basis of this scenario, "Joint Cooperation 2015" is supposed to simulate the deployment of a so-called CIMIC unit to the fictitious "Tori" border province. As the Bundeswehr explains, the "CIMIC forces" will be required to "establish an initial civilian situation picture, which will provide the information required by the staff for further operational planning." In this context, it is important "to not lose sight" of the "various actors" such as the OSCE, the great number of NGOs, "militias" and "refugees," the military points out. Consequently, not only the German Red Cross (DRK) and the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) are participating in "Joint Cooperation 2015" but also many "role players."[6]

Civilian Siphonage

"Joint Cooperation 2014," which had also been a simulated "stabilization mission" in the fictitious African country of "Tytan" ("Cerasia" region) had already provided the Bundeswehr with basic experience in handling civilian organizations. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[7]) However, this year the Bundeswehr admits focusing on siphoning off from civilian sources relevant military information. This corresponds precisely to NATO's official CIMIC doctrine, according to which, particularly "non-military actors," such as "local authorities" or NGOs, often dispose of "intelligence-relevant knowledge." Every CIMIC soldier must be able to judge whether the information he has collected should be fed into the intelligence "network."[8] Analogous explanations are found in NATO's "CIMIC Handbook," in which the authorized "liaison officers" of the "Civil-Military Cooperation" are interchangeably referred to as "sensors" or the "eyes and ears" of their commanders.[9] Inversely, according to NATO's CIMIC doctrine, only information "conducive to favorable conditions for the successful execution of the military mission" may be passed on to civilian bodies. All communication must be aimed toward generating "acceptance" of the intervention forces by the population and "influencing" accordingly the society in the area of intervention.[10]

Parallel Large-Scale Maneuver

The future environment of CIMIC troops' engagement can be surmised from NATO's current large-scale "Trident Juncture" maneuver, in which the Bundeswehr plays a key role. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) Here also NATO is simulating a military intervention in the fictitious "Cerasia" region at the Horn of Africa, and "Kamon" is the aggressor. "The scenario calls for a stalemate in Eastern Cerasia, provoking numerous problems, such as growing regional instability, violation of territorial integrity and deterioration of the humanitarian situation. In addition, enemy ships and planes are threatening free maritime passage and engendering the risk of an escalation of the Red Sea conflict." NATO units, therefore, must not only battle regular troops and guerrilla units, but confront "food insecurity," "population displacements," "cyber-attacks," "chemical warfare" and "information war," according to the Bundeswehr.[12] The "fielding of merely military means" to counter these "hybrid threats, is not very promising," concludes the Bundeswehr.[13] Like "Joint Cooperation 2015," "Trident Juncture" will also be "training civilian-military cooperation" - with the inclusion of the Red Cross and various NGOs.

Combat Tested

According to NATO, "Trident Juncture" should draw on the "lessons" of earlier combat operations, such as in Afghanistan and other "current conflicts," like Ukraine. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[14]) This should also apply to "Joint Cooperation." Already last year, numerous combat-tested officers had participated in the maneuver. The commander of the Bundeswehr's "CIMIC Center" - in charge of organizing the exercises - had served in Afghanistan from September 2011 to March 2012 in the ISAF occupation forces' Regional Command West.

[1] Internationale Übung vor Finalisierung. www.kommando.streitkraeftebasis.de 29.06.2015.
[2], [3] Internationale Bundeswehrübung wird in Formen gegossen. www.kommando.streitkraeftebasis.de 18.02.2015.
[4] Regarding "Multinationalen Kommando Operative Führung" see Alleinstellungsmerkmal.
[5] Exercise Documents. Book A. Joint Cooperation 2015. 26.05.2015.
[6] Joint Cooperation 2015 - 30. Oktober bis 06. November 2015. www.kommando.streitkraeftebasis.de 22.06.2015.
[7] See Neutral and Non-Partisan.
[8] NATO Standardization Agency: Allied Joint Doctrine for Civil-Military Cooperation (AJP-3.4.9.). Edition A. Version 1. February 2013.
[9] Civil-Military Co-operation Centre of Excellence: CIMIC Field Handbook. 3rd Edition. The Hague 2012.
[10] NATO Standardization Agency: Allied Joint Doctrine for Civil-Military Cooperation (AJP-3.4.9.). Edition A. Version 1. February 2013.
[11] See Message to the World.
[12] Übungsszenario: Hybrider Krieg als Herausforderung. www.bundeswehr.de 21.07.2015.
[13] Konferenz in Ulm bereitet größte NATO-Übung seit Jahren vor. www.kommando.streitkraeftebasis.de 14.04.2015.
[14] See 21st Century Warfare (II).