EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE Update Exercise EU Integrated Resolve 2022

During Week 5 of Exercise EU Integrated Resolve 2022, the EU OHQ in Larissa, Greece conducted a very successful Observation Day for EU Partner countries and organisations. This event coincided with the completion of the planning phase of the Exercise. The following section provides an update on EU IR 22. This Exercise update provides a useful insight into the EU’s CSDP Political/Military Crisis Management planning process.

On 18 October 2022 the EU OHQ in Larissa welcomed Observers from the Serbian Armed Forces, the Norwegian Embassy in Athens, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Senior Counsellor of the Embassy Of Georgia In Greece and the United States Army Senior Defence Official & Defence Attaché to the Observation Phase of EU IR 22. The purpose of the Observation Day was to give Partner countries and international organisations, such as the ICRC, an opportunity to get an insight into how the EU carries out its CSDP planning process.

Observers were welcomed to the OHQ by the Deputy Chief Of Staff on their arrival, this was followed by a brief on the EU Crisis Management Process, including the ‘planning snake’ that outlines the steps and procedures of the EU Crisis Management Process.

Planning Process
The EU Crisis Management Planning Process. Exercises such as EU IR 22 helps streamline this complex procedure. The red broken lines represents the "Fast Track Process."

Crisis Response Planning is conducted to enable the EU to deal with emerging or existing crises and builds on Advance Planning products, whenever available. It starts as soon as a crisis is identified by the EU at the political strategic level. It is normally based on evaluation of the Political Framework for Crisis Approach (PFCA), prepared by the relevant EEAS geographical desk. The PFCA is the conceptual framework describing the comprehensive approach of the EU to the management of a particular crisis. Its inclusive development provides a common appreciation of the crisis to all EU stakeholders and assesses the impact of the crisis on EU interests, values and objectives. It envisages possible lines of engagement, objectives and effects for EU engagement to address the crisis in the short, medium and long-terms and seeks synergies across potential instruments.

For the development of the PFCA the EUMS role is twofold, first providing military contribution (analysis of the military dimensions of the crisis, security challenges to be addressed and risk assessments, availability of the military CSDP instruments, etc.) and afterwards supporting the production of any EUMC Military advice.

During the crisis planning process, the PFCA may lead to the development of a Crisis Management Concept (CMC), which may then result in Military Strategic Options (MSO) and an Initiating Military Directive (IMD). These products allow the development of a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and an Operation Plan (OPLAN) by the Operation Commander, in this case located in Larissa. This linear, sequential planning process, while concise, can be time consuming. The Planning team for EU IR 22 adopted a 'Fast Track Process', which allows for a measure of flexibility and pragmatism to be applied to the process, whilst still retaining key planning outputs and ensuring all relevant stakeholders are kept informed.

The EUMC provides advice to support the EU political decision-making process. The Political and Security Committee (PSC) consideration of military advice, amongst others, and determination that EU action is appropriate triggers the development of a Crisis Management Concept (CMC). The CMC is the conceptual framework describing CSDP activity to address a particular crisis within the EU comprehensive approach. It is initiated once the PSC has analysed the situation and determined that CSDP action may be appropriate. The CMC defines the political strategic objectives for CSDP engagement, and provides CSDP option(s) to meet EU objectives.

The EUMS contributes to the development of the CMC by analysing and evaluating the military parameters of the envisaged operation. The EUMS evaluates the feasibility of the options and provides an initial estimate of the military capabilities required. Thus military options may be included in the CMC, enabling the official Military Strategic Options stage to be skipped and allowing the CMC to inform a Council Decision to Establish an Operation.

The EUMS, under direction of the EUMC, developed the Military Strategic Options (MSOs). MSOs describe the military actions designed to achieve the EU objectives as defined in the CMC. A MSO will outline a military course of action with the constraints and, in general terms, the required resources. It also includes an assessment of feasibility and risk, an outline of the Command and Control structure and an indicative force capability. The EUMC evaluate the MSO and forwards them, together with its advice, to the PSC for the subsequent selection of a preferred option and possible approval by the Council.

EUMS briefing
Lt Col Felix Nieto Ortega provided the Exercise Brief to the Assembled Observers to EU IR 22

On the basis of the selected option and following EUMC guidance, the EUMS developed an Initiating Military Directive (IMD) so that the CMC is well translated into military direction and guidance with the appropriate level of detail for the OpCdr. The IMD provides a clear description of the EU political / military objectives and the envisaged military mission to achieve these objectives. It also includes direction, guidance, limitations and assumptions that the OpCdr should take into account during the development of the CONOPS. Once the draft IMD was submitted to the EUMC for consideration, approval and authorisation for subsequent release to the OpCdr, the OHQ supported by 42 augmentees from 16 EU Member states, commenced work on the Operation Plan (OPLAN). During the exercise, this took place on 06 Oct 2022. Less than two weeks later, on 19 Oct 2022, the OpCdr presented the OPLAN to the PSC for approval, thus concluding the first of two major components of the Exercise.

The second will focus on testing the EU's resilience to hybrid threats, the execution of a CSDP operation and mission and an evacuation exercise of EU DEL personnel and for the first time since its inception, Member States have agreed to integrate a Live Military Exercise (LIVEX) into the EU IR22 (PACE), giving the Exercise an increased sense of realism. The LIVEX will culminate in a live demonstration of the means and capabilities an EU Battle Group drawn from HELBROC BG, who will be exercised as an Initial Entry Force, in preparing the ground for the deployment of an EU-led Operation.

From an Observers perspective, the level of engagement with and by the staff members of the OHQ was only surpassed by the welcome and hospitality received.  There is no doubt but that this visit provided an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the EU’s Crisis management and for potential future engagements as well as an opportunity to enhance collaborative networks.