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NATO exercise

Largest planning game of the medical services

Largest planning game of the medical services

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Exercise VIGOROUS WARRIOR - CASUALTY MOVE 22 - joint exercise is the largest simulation of NATO, EU and partner nations' medical services ever.

Three soldiers looking into a tactical map

Multinational cooperation


The Multinational Medical Coordination Centre/European Medical Command (MMCCMultinational Medical Coordination Centre/EMCEuropean Medical Command) in Koblenz and the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine (NATO MILMED COECentre of Excellence) in Budapest shared the success of the wargaming exercise, which focused on medical care and wound transport in the context of national and alliance defence.

From 02 April to 08 April 2022, the international wargaming took place in Balatonakarattya, Hungary, with a total of 144 military and civilian participants from 23 nations.

In addition, the Koblenzers were linked in as support with their Situation Centre and ensured the connection to the national military patient evacuation centres in Rome (Italy), Zeist (Netherlands) and Koblenz.

Difficult conditions for planning

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The exercise Vigorous Warrior - Casualty Move 22 is the largest simulation game of the NATO medical services

There were particular challenges in preparing for the exercise: a comparatively short preparation time of nine months, the challenges to EU and NATO medical services caused by the COVID pandemic and the Russian attack on Ukraine, and the reduced number of planning conferences to prepare for the exercise. "Despite this difficult situation, the exercise planning was successful; a lot was just done over the internet," said the head of the planning team, Lieutenant Colonel Andreas G.

The MMCCMultinational Medical Coordination Centre/EMCEuropean Medical Command contributed its wargaming expertise to the exercise and was responsible for developing the exercise scenario and vignettes as well as the overall exercise control.

Exchange was in the foreground

During the wargaming, the participants had the opportunity for personal interaction in their respective planning sections and spaces - on a tactical and operational level. After two years of COVID pandemic restrictions, this was a great advantage for all participants. Lively discussions enriched with the experiences and skills of the experts from the different countries led to creative approaches and to overcoming the challenges.

Two successful exercises - one business game

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General Dr. Stefan Kowitz, Director of the MMCCMultinational Medical Coordination Centre/EMCEuropean Medical Command, explains the importance of Exercise Vigorous Warrior-Casualty Move 22

By combining the exercises VIGOROUS WARRIOR and CASUALTY MOVE 22 (VW-CAMOContinuing Airworthiness Management Organisation 22) into one joint planning simulation, the management of multinational patient flows across different command levels of a large joint NATO operation was practised and analysed.

The VIGOROUS WARRIOR portion of the NATO MILMED COECentre of Excellence focused on patient care at the tactical level in the brigade and division areas. The MMCCMultinational Medical Coordination Centre/EMCEuropean Medical Command CASUALTY MOVE exercise focused on coordinating the flow of patients at the operational level above the divisions back to the home countries.

Initial findings and potential

"The VW22-CAMO22 wargaming was a success at all levels and the main objectives of the exercise were achieved. Considering the complexity of the exercise - the operational level was combined with the tactical level - all participants were challenged in this multinational exercise and were able to take important experiences back to their home locations." says the Director of the MMCCMultinational Medical Coordination Centre/EMCEuropean Medical Command, Surgeon General Dr Stefan Kowitz, expressing his satisfaction with the initial results of the wargaming exercise.

The exercise and the extensive accompanying discussions provided extremely useful input for the further development of concepts (e.g. Medical Task Force Principle for Brigade), guidelines (e.g. SHAPESupreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Patient Flow Guideline) and standardisation documents (e.g. MEDEVAC-STANAGStandardisierungsübereinkommen der NATO-Vertragsstaaten über die Anwendung standardisierter Verfahren oder ähnlicher Ausrüstung).

Thus, the Koblenz-based company intends to incorporate the knowledge gained and the resulting work packages into its portfolio in order to improve and refine existing concepts.

by Rico Maderthoner

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