Military Exercise Management, Military Experimentation, Military Lessons Management
Supporting the Swedish Armed Forces for two decades
May 05, 2021
Military & Defence
Background: Exonaut® was initially developed as a military training management tool for the Swedish Armed Forces. Since 2001 they have been instrumental in its development, using the software to manage and enhance the delivery of their training and exercise activities. Most recently, they signed a three-year extension agreement that included the continued support of 4C through software and advisory expertise – making it cooperation that has spanned over two decades.
Challenge: Help the Swedish Armed Forces to increase their capabilities in an evolving battlespace. Meet their need for sophisticated military training and exercise management, and delivery, across the live/virtual/constructive spectrum.
Solution: Exonaut is the de facto standard for end-to-end military training and exercise management software. It enables users to plan and design exercises, track training progression, evaluate performance against clear objectives, and make evidence-based exercise, training and budgetary decisions.
Benefits: Through close partnership, Exonaut is developed to meet the evolving needs of the Swedish Armed Forces. They can draw on the expertise of 4C’s ex-military advisors in exercise planning, execution, and analysis, to ensure Soldiers, Units and Command are fully prepared for the defence of the country.
Customer: The mission of the Swedish Armed Forces is to defend Sweden and its freedom, interests and democracy. It includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Intelligence and Security Services and Cyber defence. It has over 24,000 active and 21,000 reserve personnel and runs major interop exercises with Nordic and other allied partners.
Bringing new intelligence to military training
When development began on Exonaut over 20 years ago, exercises were run and monitored using a pen and paper. Exercise data was severely lacking. It was difficult to re-run large-scale exercises without constantly `reinventing the wheel´ or to tailor exercises to meet the exact requirements of units. When launched in 2001, Exonaut brought new intelligence to military training management for the Swedish Armed Forces and they have been utilising the software ever since.
A modern tool for today’s military
“When it comes to capability development in my forces, a tool like Exonaut is crucial,” says General Micael Bydén, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, when explaining how it used to take months to evaluate and change exercises. With Exonaut exercises can now be altered or restarted, mid-exercise in real-time, based on what is happening and predicted outcomes.
“The most necessary tool for an armed force is training and exercises – to be able to take the next step. Exonaut is the perfect tool for us, not only for planning but also for conducting and evaluating our exercises.”
General Micael Bydén, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces
Exonaut provides unique insights into the readiness of military teams, squads and units based on defined training objectives. This enables users to determine training risk as well as identify lessons learned and best practices, which can be subsequently shared with other squads and units. Key features include automated reporting and tailored dashboards that ensure relevant information is easily accessible and can be securely shared among staff.
Exonaut in action: Viking – the world’s largest international staff exercises of its kind
Viking is a multinational and multidimensional Command Post Exercise (CPX) held by the Swedish Armed Forces. Thousands of participants from civilian, military, police and humanitarian organisations in 60 countries (2018) take part in the distributed, computer assisted command post exercise over a 10-day period.
4C Staff are working closely with the Swedish Armed Forces to plan the 2022 exercise using Exonaut. 4C’s Evelina Persson who is a member of Viking’s core planning team explains more. “We are currently mapping the different training objectives and scheduling the events. It’s a large undertaking that is quite unique as it brings so many different organisations together from around the world and proves the value of multi-national training as a platform for future collaboration and policy-development. During the exercise we will be monitoring performance to ensure opportunities to train objectives and attain achievement are maximised. By following performance, we can see if an exercise needs to be run faster, if more complexity should be introduced, or who, if anybody, needs more attention. Exonaut essentially enables us to alter an exercise to achieve the planned objectives. Daily reporting will keep command up to date with performance and progress.”
This is the sixth time that Exonaut has been used in the Viking Exercise, and the lessons learnt from previous years will be incorporated into Viking22. At the end of the exercise, automated reports will be delivered to team leads from each organisation.
Global military customer base
“As our first military customer, the Swedish Armed Forces have played a key role in developing the roadmap of Exonaut,” says Mikael Grape MD, 4C Strategies Nordic. “As more Armed forces have adopted the software, including the British Army, NATO, and most recently the US Army and the US Marine Corps we receive more stakeholder input which leads to new innovations. This approach is a key factor in Exonaut becoming the de facto standard for military training management software.”
General Bydén believes that Exonaut is being used by many other countries’ military forces because it’s the best tool for the job. Speaking about how Exonaut can help them as uncertainties grow, he says “We are now planning for being able to conduct operations beyond peace time, pending political decisions. If we use the same tool for planning, conducting and evaluating exercises it’s a very positive situation.”
“As our first military customer, the Swedish Armed Forces have played a key role in developing the roadmap of Exonaut.”
Mikael Grape, 4C Strategies Nordic MD
Long-term strategic partnership
The Swedish Armed Forces cemented its long-term strategic partnership with 4C in 2017, when an agreement was signed for the provision of appropriately qualified and available personnel to each organisation. Former military 4C employees are now able to serve in the Swedish Armed Forces again while on sabbatical from the company – taking up an operational role or conducting training and exercises. Simultaneously, the Swedish Armed Forces facilitate recruitment of personnel with a military background to 4C.
Having 4C personnel available in this way enables the Swedish Armed Forces to utilise the full capabilities of Exonaut and take full advantage of 4C’s military training and exercise expertise. A typical example is that they get access to experts who have been involved in the training and development of other allied nation’s militaries. 4C, on the other hand, gain more exposure to military planning and decision-making skills and with it a greater knowledge of military thinking.
Building military capabilities
At the end of 2020, the Swedish Armed Force once again signed a three-year contract with 4C that will see the continued use of Exonaut and maintain the talent provision program.
“Since our partnership began Exonaut has been used to support the Army, Navy, Air Force and other areas within the Swedish Armed Forces,” continues Grape. “It feels good to know that we are contributing to the protection of Sweden by developing the capabilities where needed, and ultimately ensuring the armed forces are better prepared against threats.”
The most necessary tool for an armed force
Talking about the partnership and the importance of military training and exercise software General Bydén says “When I look at the last 20 years of working together with 4C Strategies, I see a very positive example of how you can develop a tool. The most necessary tool for an armed force is training and exercises – to be able to take the next step. Exonaut is the perfect tool for us, not only for planning but also for conducting and evaluating our exercises.”
Military Training Management Solutions
Programming, designing, delivering and evaluating objective based training and exercises to support capability development.
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