A two-week military crisis planning exercise was held at the EU NAVFOR Operational Headquarters (OHQ) in Northwood from 3-16th November 2017.
44 staff from 11 EU Member States formed as a strategic military planning team for the exercise. The EU Military Staff then tested the group with a hypothetical complex humanitarian crisis with the aim of providing an effective EU response to establish a safe and secure environment and enable the delivery of humanitarian aid in a fictitious country in Africa. The OHQ worked with a secondary Force Headquarters in Burgos, Spain to develop a robust and effective concept of operations. The resulting plan was scrutinised by the Chairman of the Military Committee and the Director General of the EUMS and given a firm seal of approval.
Exercises such as these are designed to test the ability of the EU to deploy a European Union Battle Groups (EUBG) to anywhere in the world. EU Member States constantly provide high readiness EUBG’s that are able to deploy for upto 60 days in the first instance.
There are two EUBG’s on standby at any one time, ready in case the EU should need to send them quickly to provide assistance to a conflict-hit region around the world.
As well as continuing its successful Operation Atalanta counter-piracy mission, EU NAVFOR OHQ Northwood will be on standby throughout 2018 for planning EUBG missions in the event of such a crisis.
The EU currently has six ongoing military operations and missions and another 10 civilian missions all with peace keeping and conflict prevention objectives. More information about the missions and operations can be found here: https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/area/security-and-defence_en