Illuminated Summer 07, a multinational exercise with participants from Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom began to get under way on Tuesday. Early on Wednesday morning it will be "game on" for the 430 or so participants. For the members of the staffs involved, this is really a final exercise.
For the exercise director, Brigadier Jan-Gunnar Isberg, things are now becoming just that little bit more exciting. The exercise Illuminated Summer 07, which has been in preparation since last autumn, really started on Monday. On that day, and on Tuesday, the time was devoted to final preparations for all concerned, and on Wednesday the start button is pressed.
The common aim of everyone concerned is to be ready for the time when the Nordic Battlegroup, NBG, may be called upon to undertake a mission in earnest.
Taking part in the exercise will be the operational headquarters, OHQ, which will be located in the United Kingdom, and the force headquarters, (F)HQ, ready to be despatched to the area of operations. For the purposes of this exercise both HQs will be physically located with the Command and Control Regiment in Enköping.
The aim of the exercise is to train commanders and their headquarters staff in planning and implementing several actions at the same time in a complex environment with all the problems that can arise in an operation far from Europe.
The staff personnel involved are essentially those who will make up the actual operational staffs if and when the decision is made to call upon the Nordic Battlegroup to carry out a mission.
"In a sense, this is their final exercise," says Brigadier Jan-Gunnar Isberg, the Exercise Director.
This autumn it is envisaged that both the staffs will give the green light, confirming that they are ready for their missions in the new year. If this exercise shows that there is still room for improvement, the staffs will be able to address this during the autumn.
During Illuminated Summer the exercise participants will have a simulated scenario involving a crisis in Xland, which on the map corresponds loosely to the province of Gästrikland. An EU-led force with a mandate under the UN Charter Chapter 7 (peace enforcement) has the task of bringing peace to the area.
The scenario is a continuation of the exercise Nordic Resolve which took place in March and which was the first staff exercise for the Swedish Force Headquarters (F)HQ. The same scenario will also be used in November next year in the exercise Viking 08 which is being planned by the same group.
In order to make the exercise as realistic as possible, a number of civil organisations including the UN, Red Cross and UNHCR, as well as individuals with special competencies, will also be taking part.
On Wednesday morning, with all preparations completed, the Exercise Director, Brigadier Isberg, will press the start button and Illuminated Summer 07 will commence.