EU Integrated Resolve 2020 (EU IR20) was a complex crisis management exercise to enhance the EU’s ability to coordinate and respond to external conflicts and crises, with a focus on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) planning processes and operational conduct in a hybrid threat environment. In particular, it focused on how to manage a crisis affecting EU assets abroad, such as a military operation and a civilian mission deployed in a fictitious country and its EU delegation on the ground. This went from planning a CSDP mission and operation to respond to a request from a fictitious partner country to addressing a hybrid threat affecting EU assets on the ground.
In May 2021, European Union finally achieved EU Integrated Resolve 2020, a comprehensive and combined exercise, composed of a CSDP planning part from 21 September to 23 October 2020 and an event-driven part from 26 April to 11 May 2021. Both parts were designed to influence each other. The Covid 19 Pandemic jeopardized the exercise, but the sucessful conclusion of this Exercise is a measure of EU resolve and an indication of the Exercise's relavence! The initial scheduling had to be rearranged several times and some precautionary measures had to be implemented in order to exercise in a safe environment.
It was the biggest EU exercise since 2018. It involved approximatively 1,000 experts from the European External Action Service (EEAS, including EUMS), European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council, as well as EU Member States, EU agencies and military headquarters (over 200 military personnel). As part of the EU’s international partnerships, the EU IR20 counted on the participation of NATO staff and EU partners like the US, Canada and Norway during parallel events. The military operation and the civilian mission were planned and conducted respectively by the Military Planning Conduct and Capability (MPCC), within the EU Military Staff, and the Civilian Planning Conduct Capability (CPCC).
It was the first time that the MPCC was so heavily involved in such a CSDP exercise. Its participation constituted a significant step forward to consolidate the processes for the planning and conduct of executive operations, battlegroup size, and identify areas of improvement, with the help of an external and independent evaluation and observation team. In addition, the MPCC exercised this comprehensive operations planning while conducting the ongoing training Missions in Mali, Somalia and CAR. During this Exercise, Brussels' newest Operational Headquarters' planning, command and control structure and function was exercised in robust and comprehensive manner. The EU Force Headquarters (EU ITA FHQ) in support of the MPCC was located in Capua (ITALY).
The evaluation and observation of the MPCC by an external, independent, and multinational team was another significant activity not carried out so far in CSDP Exercises. The Evaluation and Observation team was directed by Brigadier General Milan and operated in the premises of the EUMS. The extensive training in planning was for the first time complemented and completed in April 2021 with an operations execution event-driven part, based on injects that enabled strategic military thinking. The rhythm of this part was intense. The event-driven part has been unanimously appreciated and his length might be extended for the next iteration of the exercise planned in 2020.
The Ops Commander was the Vice Admiral Bléjean (Dir MPCC/EUMS) and the Force Commander was the Brigadier General Terzano (Cdr of the FHQ). The Directing Staff (DISTAFF) was established in the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) in Brussels supported by a liaison element on the ground (in the FHQ) to provide necessary oversight and control of the exercise. This was a completely new exercise in terms of the location of the potential CSDP action in a fictitious country which required a new set of geospatial data prepared in close cooperation between EUMS and SATCEN.