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Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL)Ensuring Readiness

Issue 59

A vital tool in SACEUR’s arsenal to ensure Combat Readiness of his Forces is the Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL) process. This is the tool LANDCOM employs to collect empirical data that delivers tangible results for the SACEUR’s review.  To do this, LANDCOM sends NATO monitors and evaluation teams to all corners of the Alliance, from Trømso - Norway – Tirana – Albania - Germany - Turkey, in order to evaluate NATO Land Forces where they train. And the evaluation provides SACEUR with the assurance that those NATO headquarters and units meet Alliance’s standards and are ready for combat operations.  Standardization and Combat Readiness are key elements of interoperability and operational capability.  

The CREVAL is conducted across the gamut of NATO Land Forces; from Land Component Command (LCC) Headquarters, multi-national corps, divisions, brigades, to battalions and even specialized units. During the summer of 2014, LANDCOM provided the core of the evaluation team for 1st German-Netherlands Corps (1GNC), which recently assumed the role of NATO Response Force (NRF) 2015.   After 18 months of planning and preparation by both LANDCOM and the evaluated HQ, the CREVAL culminated with an in-barracks phase in Münster, Germany and a field evaluation phase during Exercise NOBLE LEDGER 14 in Wildflecken, Germany. The LANDCOM team evaluated criteria in the areas of policy, operations, logistics, communication & information systems (CIS), and administration. 1GNC demonstrated that they were well trained, interoperable, and operationally ready for combat.  One of the many highlights of the evaluation for the LANDCOM team was the ability of 1GNC exercise control (EXCON)to dynamically script injects as the exercise evolved to meet evaluation needs; this was only achievable due to the excellent close working relationship that had developed between the team and the 1GNC EXCON during the preparation phase.   

Along with the LANDCOM-led evaluation of 1GNC, LANDCOM also provided NATO Monitor Teams for 16 unit evaluations scheduled in 2014, including all the subordinate units of the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) which will be assumed by the Netherlands 11 Air Manoeuvre Brigade.  The role of NATO Monitor is a special one, as LANDCOM Officers ensure that the CREVAL is conducted according to NATO standards.  Yet, they also perform advisory and assistance roles to the national evaluation teams and are usually sent away with many thanks and praise for their work.  One unit evaluation of particular note was with the latest member of NATO, Albania. Their 1st Light Infantry Battalion undertook their first CREVAL in national history.  The successful result of the CREVAL was celebrated in grand fashion, having been attended by several international VIPs and setting the stage for future CREVALS for Albanian units.

2015 will be an equally exciting, if not more intense year for the LANDCOM CREVAL program.  With 19 units and 2 Corps HQ (NRDC-GR and NRDC-ESP) CREVALs already scheduled, the program will be firing on all cylinders.  LANDCOM will send robust evaluation teams to Thessaloniki, Greece and Valencia, Spain to conduct the evaluation of over 1600 performance measures covering the full spectrum of battle staff processes.  These CREVALs will occur in the headquarters of the GRF(L)s and also during the Command Post Exercises of GORDIAN KNOT 15 and TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15, respectively.  

The LANDCOM CREVAL section will also lead the effort to revise the current edition of the Allied Command Operations (ACO) Force Standards Volume VII, which is the governing document for the CREVAL program.  A major portion of the revision will be the inclusion of newly developed criteria for an LCC HQ in a MJO+ conflict.  The criteria and observations that were gleaned from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)’s evaluation of LANDCOM during TRIDENT LANCE 2014 in Grafenwöhr, Germany will be utilized to shape the composition of LANDCOM evaluations in the years to come.

LANDCOM is continuously recruiting for trained and qualified officers to become part of the CREVAL team.  CREVAL courses are taught 3 times per year at NATO School, Oberammergau and once a year at LANDCOM HQ in Izmir, Turkey.  With a very full schedule of CREVALs in 2015 and beyond, there will be many opportunities to participate. Being a NATO monitor or evaluator is an exciting and satisfying experience.  As one LANDCOM staff officer once said about his CREVAL experience in the field, at a national training area in the Czech Republic, “I had the kind of day that little boys dream about.”