Open Day - Viking 2011
In the frame of NATO Partnership for Peace Program (NATO/PfP) Georgia hosted the exercise VIKING 2011 in April.
The aim of the exercise was to deepen cooperation, interoperability and credibility between NATO/PfP countries’ military, civilian, international and non-governmental organizations.
VIKING 2011 was conducted virtually through a computer assisted simulation network. The main purpose of the training was to improve cooperation during peace support and crisis response operations.
The organizers of the exercise created special software for the gaming. According to the scenario, through peace support operations, coalition forces were trying to achieve peace in an invented country, “Bogaland”. The situation was very close to reality. Events and incidents were modeled on current conflict environments (Africa and Central Asia).
In VIKING 2011, the participants, both military and civilians, represent 24 nations. The main organizer of the training was the Swedish Kingdom. The main headquarters were located in Sweden, with brigade-level HQs functioning in Georgia, Austria, Germany, Ireland and Ukraine.
From the Georgian side, the training was under the command of Colonel Zurab Tomauri, Chief of the Operational Preparedness Division of J-3 Operational Planning Department, JS. The main advisor from the Swedish part was Major Durbion Johansson.
The First Deputy Minister of Defence Nodar Kharshiladze, Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff of Georgian Armed Forces Lieutenant-Colonel Lasha Beridze, various foreign ambassadors and military attaches attended the official closing ceremony of the exercises. “Along with the Georgian Armed Forces personnel, representatives of NATO countries and the Swedish Ministry of Defence took part in the multinational exercise VIKING 2011. During training an accent was made on the improvement of such aspects as civil-military cooperation in crisis situations and interoperability with international forces”, declared Nodar Kharshiladze.
Representatives of the diplomatic corps attended the final part of the exercise. They assessed the training process positively. “It is very important that Georgian soldiers are learning not only military affairs but also mechanisms of cooperation with civilian organizations. For me as a civilian, it was very important to use humanitarian and civilian aspects in the exercise”, stated the Lithuanian ambassador, Mr. Jonas Paslauskas.
Officers of the Swedish and United States armed forces attended the exercises in the capacity of advisors. The list of guests invited to the command and staff exercise involved officials from the Interior and Foreign Ministries as well as from various international and non-governmental organizations. Around 130 military servicemen and civilians were also involved in the training.