With the signing ceremony between the EAG Director Air Chief Marshal Pulford and the EPRC Director Major General Fantuzzi, the official handover of the EPRC responsibility took place as part of the EPRC Inauguration Ceremony.
The first EPRC Steering Group was held in Poggio Renatico on 9 July 2015, the day after the inauguration of the EPRC. The EPRC SG is the governing body of the EPRC. It has been established to provide strategic direction and guidance (D&G) to the conduct and development of the EPRC work strands. Therefore, the EPRC SG controls all matters relating to the EPRC; it oversees the work of the EPRC Permanent Staff and provides an information channel and co ordination between the EPRC Participant Nations. At the beginning of the meeting, the EPRC Director made his vision statement. Some important quotes from his initial report:
“I believe, you all agree, that the current political-military environment pushes our forces into operations that are highly demanding and through their nature require tight control on the ROEs as close scrutiny by our political masters as well as our peoples are the norm. We also have to deal with ever-decreasing defence budgets and rising procurement costs. Whilst we utilise hi-tech to optimise our effectiveness, the most precious asset we have is naturally our personnel. Still, it is this asset that suffers from the tight ROE control, as the risk to the individual is increasing exponentially if you have to minimise collateral damage in the area of operation.”
“….it is a logical step to take all achievable precautions in order to protect our personnel, especially in expeditional operations where the threat to our own infrastructure is indirect and/ or consequential. On the other hand, the limited defence budgets force us to prioritise expenditures and avoid duplication within our multinational security environments. This is where the EPRC will play a decisive role. Through the coordination efforts of the EPRC we will enable the European nations to synchronise their efforts in the PR arena and take advantage from the pooling and sharing opportunities that are available. The training capabilities, whilst limited, do provide training that is not available anywhere else or ensure the available training is standardised within our area of responsibility.”
“Our nations have acknowledged the need to create the EPRC and are putting valuable assets into its creation. As I eluded to earlier, the Centre will be a cost effective tool to help close a capability gap identified a long time ago. It is time we act decisively and position the EPRC in such a way that this can be achieved.”
During the SG, all the SG Members agreed that all prerequisites to achieve IOC were met, therefore the EPRC SG officially declared IOC for the EPRC.
Moreover, the approved EPRC Terms of Reference of the EPRC were signed by the Director.
ACT’s DACOS C2DS CDRE (NOR) GRONNINGSETHER was a very welcomed guest at the SG Meeting. He briefed the EPRC SG on the development of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between ACT and the EPRC to be signed soon.