When nations assign their personnel to HQ AIRCOM, those staff are usually already trained to accomplish these tasks in national missions. In the integrated environment, new arrivals should only have to learn how to handle NATO-specific tasks and missions. The Training Branch coordinates, oversees and facilitates all training events with the aim of maintaining and enhancing battle staff readiness. Appropriate training is available at collective and individual levels as well as on-the-job. One means of providing training is the training for and participation in exercises.
The HQ AIRCOM Exercise Branch is responsible for programming, planning and conducting exercises for NATO including designated subordinate entities and assigned forces. These exercises prepare staff for their specific task in the Headquarters during peacetime and for their Joint Force Air Component tasks during crises.
The term NATO Military Exercise includes all exercises for which NATO is the initiating or the joint initiating authority. A NATO Military Exercise is scheduled by a NATO Commander. It aims to establish, enhance and display NATO's Military Capability across the Alliance's full mission spectrum which is based on the three Alliance military missions:
Article 5 Collective Defence;
Non-Article 5 Crisis Response; and
Consultation and Co-operation.
The rationale for planning and executing military exercises is to prepare commands and forces for operations in peace, crisis and conflict.
The exercises are executed in three forms: Live Exercise (LIVEX), Command Post Exercise (CPX)/Computer Assisted Exercise (CAX), or an Exercise Study. A LIVEX is an exercise in which actual forces participate. A CPX is a HQ exercise involving commanders and their staffs, and communications within and among participating headquarters, in which NATO and friendly forces, as well as opposing forces are simulated. An Exercise Study is an activity which may take the form of a map exercise, a war game, a series of lectures, a discussion group, or an operational analysis.
A NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) Exercise is an exercise or related activity scheduled and conducted by a NATO Commander, or under certain conditions by a National authority, in which personnel and/or forces from at least one NATO and one Partner nation perform operational and/or related functions. PfP exercises combine planning and training in order to strengthen missions in the fields of Peace Support Operations, Humanitarian Assistance, Search and Rescue and others.