CIOR President visits Nordic Presidium in Oslo

The President of CIOR, Colonel (R) Chris Argent, visited Oslo on 17 and 18 January to meet with both the Council of the Norwegian Reserve Officers Federation (NROF) and the Council of the Nordic Presidium.

By: Roy Thorvaldsen, Lt Col (R) Norwegian Army/ CIOR Public Affairs

Argent briefed on current progress in CIOR against the ‘President’s Scorecard’, which indicated that of the targets set by the Presidency in August 2018, approximately 75% have now been achieved. The target for new member nations has not yet been achieved, due to difficulties with the application process. The only new member that has been successfully admitted so far has been Portugal.

The President went on to report on progress with current key issues, including the joint programme with the National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) on Cyber, and CIOR digitalisation and e-learning.

SHAPE Reserves Advisor to be recruited this spring

Furthermore he briefed on the re-establishment of a SHAPE Reserves Advisor to be recruited this spring. Here he said he hoped the Nordic nations would play a part as a panel of expertise.

He also updated the Presidium about the pilot Reserve Officer Workshop planned for the Summer Congress 2020, and the revamp of the CIOR legal Structure and Constitution – which are set to be completed this spring; as well as the future routine re-accreditation of member associations. The latter is to be affirmed by Council at the upcoming Mid-Winter-Meeting (MWM) at NATO Headquarters.

– Will deliver on all objectives by conclusion of Summer Congress

Those present expressed their satisfaction with progress and the President said he was confident of delivering on all the objectives by the conclusion of the Summer Congress 2020.

– Still awaiting information on this year’s Summer Congress

Asked for planning details for this year’s Summer Congress, the President said he was as of yet unable to provide this information – as it was awaited from the congress organisers.

The President said he sincerely hoped the information would be readily available before the MWM, and recognised the difficulties it would cause members if this does not happen.

Regarding future years’ congresses, the President noted concerns about it being held at the height of the annual leave period, and suggested that the Council could reconsider the timing of the summer congresses for future years.

The President defends the military competition

Those present also expressed their concern to the President regarding the organisation of the CIOR Military Competition, which, it was felt, distorted planning and caused many nations not to host summer congresses. The President expressed his thoughts on this issue as being:

1) The Military Competition need not be co-located with the Congress.

2) Suggestions that the competition was an outdated format overlooked that it tests key military skills, albeit in a non-tactical scenario

3) The competition need not be looked upon as solely the pursuit of excellence, but rather a challenging experience for officers and soldiers, a social, cultural and military gathering at which the sole measure need not be the number of medals won.

4) That desirable as the NATO Assault Course might be, it is not essential provided all competitors are tested over a common challenging event.

The President urged all nations to see the competition in these terms and increase the number of participating teams, especially encouraging young and inexperienced reserve officers and soldiers to participate – provided they had undertaken a suitable period of familiarisation and work up training.

Finally the President thanked all present for their interest and support in the ongoing development of CIOR – to which he was committed during the UK and Estonian Joint Presidency.

CIOR President, Colonel (R) Chris Argent flanked by the members of the Nordic Presidium outside the Norwegian Reserve Officer Association (NROF) building at Akershus Fortress in Oslo, following last weekend’s meeting. (Photo: Jørgen Berggrav.)

Romanian Reserve Officer Association awarded by President of Romania

The Romanian Reserve Officers Association (AORR) has been awarded by the President of Romania with the Memorial Medal “Centenary of the War for National Unity”.

The Romanian Reserve Officers Association (AORR) was recently awarded the Memorial Medal “Centenary of the War for National Unity” by the President of Romania, HE Klaus Johannis, at the Cotroceni Palace. AORR was represented by its president, Lt. Gen. (R) dr. Virgil Bălăceanu, the current Secretary Geeneral, Brig. Gen. (R) Iulian Burticioiu and the former, Maj. Gen. (R) dr. Dan Grecu.

The event brought together several military and civilian institutions, supporters of the Romanian military tradition, which all received recognition for their merits.

– The gratitude of the State of Romania

– By awarding the medals “Centenary of the War for National Unity” I wish to express the gratitude of the State of Romania for the sacrifice enacted by the generation of the Great Union on the battlefield of the War for National Unity, stated the Romanian President in his speech.

Major project

One of the major projects of AORR, in the year of the Centenary of the Great Union (2018), was the development of the Mobile Expo-Memorial Complex

“Glory to the Romanian Soldier” is dedicated to those heroes who sacrificed themselves in World War I. Being materialised as an impressive structure, the Expo-Memorial complex serves as historic testimony, heroes memorial, homage to the Romanian Armed Forces and public history lesson.

The monument was inaugurated on November 30th, 2018 in the city of Alba Iulia and it measures 23 meters in height, same as the Monument of the National Union, unveiled at the same historic place and time. This ambitious project wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, as well as the European Association “Dimitrie Cantemir”.

An active player at the intersection of military life and society

At the same time, AORR has been an active player at the intersection of the military life and society, involved in several actions, including: a Workshop concerning National Defense readjustment, in cooperation with the Romanian Defence Staff and the National Defense University “Carol I”; a Public Debate in partnership with the Committee for Defence, Public Order and National Security from the Chamber of Deputies, regarding the status of the Romanian Armed Forces and the necessity of developing Reserve Forces/Territorial Forces; active involvement in the program for the recruitment and training of voluntary reservists.

International Eexperts’ conference

The most recent large-scale project of AORR was the International Experts’ Conference SECDEF19, in partnership with the Military Technical Academy “Ferdinand I”, the Romanian Business Association of the Military Technique Manufacturers – PATROMIL and academic institutions from Poland.

At the Cotroceni Palace, the Romanian Reserve Officers Association (AORR) was recently awarded the Memorial Medal “Centenary of the War for National Unity” by the President of Romania, HE Klaus Johannis. AORR was represented by its president, Lt. Gen. (R) dr. Virgil Bălăceanu, the current Secretary Geeneral, Brig. Gen. (R) Iulian Burticioiu and the former, Maj. Gen. (R) dr. Dan Grecu.

Link to Romanian Reserve Officer Association with a video of the above event at the bottom of the page here.

From the construction of the monument “Glory to the Romanian Soldier”.

The monument “Glory to the Romanian Soldier”.
From the construction of the monument “Glory to the Romanian Soldier”.

 Link to Romanian Reserve Officer Association with a video of the above event at the bottom of the page here.

Season’s Greetings to the CIOR Family!

The President of CIOR sends season’s greetings to our all Reserve and Regular colleagues, wherever they may be on duty or with their families, and wishes them a happy, safe and prosperous 2020.

Spanish Reserve Association with Parliament seminar on NATO Reserves

Spain’s Reserve Forces Association FORE (Federación de Organizaciones de Reservistas de España) recently held a seminar in the Parliament in Madrid, on NATO’s Reserve Forces. The seminar was well attended by members of Parliament – amongst whom a substantial number are either serving or past members of Spain’s Armed Forces – and by the responsible people for the Reserve management of the Ministry of Defense and the Army.

The proceedings were opened by Pedro Argüelles Salaverría, a former member of the Spanish and European parliaments, former Vice Minister of Defense and President of the Asociación Atlántica Espanola. He stressed the ongoing need for Reservists.

Key-note speaker from NATO HQ

essing NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Ms. Carmen Romero, referring a question to CIOR President Colonel (Retd.) Chris Argent, UK Army during the Q&A session.

The key-note speaker was Ms. Carmen Romero, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, who gave a broad overview of current key issues in NATO. She briefed on the wide range of current threats to peace and security in the Alliance’s area of interest, and the challenges that come with emerging technologies falling into the “wrong hands”.

Ms Romero stressed that whilst there were, as always, tensions within the Alliance, all member nations agree that NATO is ’’better together’’ and remains a bulwark for peace in the free world.

Case studies

Four reservists, Florentien Braat from the Netherlands, John Carolan-Cullion from the UK, Ronny Vossen from Denmark and Francisco Muñoyerro from Spain then presented their own experiences on operational tours in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Afghanistan and Turkey – covering a wide spectrum of military skills and environments.

CIOR President, Colonel (Retd) Chris Argent UK Army addressing the seminar attendees.


ARRC with good Reservist experiences

Brigadier General Melchor Marin Elvira reported on the increasing role for Reservists both in training and on operations within the General Staff of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) of NATO, and spoke positively of his experiences with Reservists as a valuable component in the Headquarters.

CIOR President in Q&A session

The Seminar concluded with a Question and Answer Session chaired by Luis Placencia, FORE President, which was joined by Colonel Chris Argent, President of CIOR, who in turn spoke of his own experiences over many years as a Reserve Infantry Officer in the UK Army.

Speakers and panelists at the Reserve Seminar in the Spanish Parliament, including CIOR President Colonel (UK Army Retd) Chris Argent to the far left.
Group photo with participating speakers and panelists at the Reserve Seminar in the Spanish Parliament.

IBM3 wraps up in Edinburgh

The CIOR autumn meeting (In-Between-Meeting/IBM) wrapped up Wednesday 27 November, after two and a half days of discussing on-going business. The final day of the meeting consisted mainly of progress reports from various CIOR committees.

By: Lt Col Roy Thorvaldsen, Norwegian Army, Chairman CIOR Public Affairs Committee

The committees that presented their status reports on Wednesday were the Language Academy Committee, the Young Reserve Officer Committee, the Military Competition Committee and the Public Affairs Committee.

The latter presented the first version of the organisation’s new Communication Plan.

This was followed by an update on the next CIOR event, the Mid-Winter-Meeting (MWM), which takes place at NATO HQ the 3rd week of February – before the President brought it all to conclusion with the ‘Summary of meeting outcomes’.

NATO Reserve Forces Committee

On Tuesday the Secretary General of the NATO Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) Col Grzegorz Krawczyk visited, along with the 1st Assistent Secretary General Lt Col Zenon Walinski, to give an update on NRFC’s on-going business.

From the Tuesday NRFC status update to the CIOR Council in Edinburgh.

CIOR and NRFC now work more closely together than they have done for several years. Key to this reinvigorated  relationship is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties, signed at the last MWM at NATO HQ.

NRFC Secretary General, Colonel Grzegorz Krawczyk (number 3 from right), engaged in discussion with the US CIOR Vice President/Head of delegation, Brigadier General Michael J. Silva (far left).
Good tone: CIOR President Colonel Chris Argent (Retd) conversing informally with NRFC Secretary General Colonel Grzegorz Krawczyk and 1st Asst SecGen Lt Colonel Zenon Walinski.

Other key issues discussed Tuesday included the possible establishment of a Reserves cell at NATO’s operational headquarters, Supreme Headquarteres Allied Powers Europe/SHAPE with liaison to CIOR; Cyber; Legal structure & review of constitution (for MWM 2020); ‘CIOR 2025’; the ‘Future Young Reserve Officer’ project; the new CIOR ‘Workplace’ collaboration portal CIOR Connect; development of an online learning program.


























Autumn CIOR meeting opens in Edinburgh

The autumn meeting of CIOR – also called the “in-between-meeting” opened in Edinburgh 25 November. For two days the CIOR national associations’ delegations were set to discuss their on-going business.

By: Lt Col Roy Thorvaldsen, Norwegian Army, Chairman CIOR Public Affairs Committee

The day started with the President of CIOR, Colonel Chris Argent (retd.) giving his report to the CIOR Council, consisting of heads of member associations’ delegations – also called Vice Presidents.

The President’s report focussed on the CIOR Annual Report that he recently briefed to the NATO Military Committe in Brussels, other high level meetings at both NATO and national level, and the status of key CIOR efforts and achievements.

Autumn CIOR meeting 2019 opens in Edinburgh.

The meeting took place in the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, one of the world’s oldest medical institutions. It was  founded in 1505 after receiving a Royal Seal of Cause from the town council which was ratified by King James IV 1506. It provides education and assessment for medical students, surgical trainees and consultants and supports research to advance standards of care for the future.

CIOR Secretary General Adrian Walton (Col retd.) speaking during the opening session. Next to him, CIOR President Chris Argent (Col retd.)

CIOR’s In-Between-Meetings (IBMs) take place between the Summer Congresses (SC) and the Mid-Winter Meetings (MWM) every year, once in the autumn and once in the spring, and are designated to be focussed work-meetings, to “keep the wheels turning” between the SCs and MWMs.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, one of the world’s oldest medical institutions – founded in 1505.

CIOR President and Secretary General attend Estonia Defence Forces 101st anniversary

(Updated.) The CIOR President Colonel Chris Argent (UK Army Retd) and CIOR Secretary General Colonel Adrian Walton (UK Army) visited Estonia in November to attend the 101st Anniversary of the formation of the Estonian Defense Forces, and to review the 2019 CIOR Summer Congress in Tallinn last August – with Estonian members of the CIOR Joint UK-Estonian Presidency.

On 14 November the President and Secretary General attended a wreath laying with senior Estonian and other national military leaders, and took part in a celebration of the work and achievements of the Estonian National Defence Forces – hosted by Estonia’s Chief of Defence Major General Martin Herrem. In his speech General Herrem reviewed the successful outcomes of the CIOR Summer Congress in Tallinn in August 2019 – a congress which Estonia hosted with great success.

The visit was also an opportunity for the President and Secretary General of CIOR to meet with the Estonian members of the Joint Presidency and review achievements over the last 12 months, as the second year of the two-year Presidency had just started. All agreed that the first year of the Presidency had delivered substantial progress for CIOR, and expressed that they were looking forward to an equally succesful second half of the UK-Estonia Presidency tenure.

The next country that will have the CIOR Presidency is Germany (2020-2022), to be followed by Estonia (2022-2024).

CIOR Presidency members from the UK and Estonia met in Tallinn at the Estonian Defence Forces’ 101st anniversary for a 2019 Summer Congress review. On the photo also Estonian Chief of Defence, Major General Martin Herem (centre).

CIOR leadership visits South Africa

Youth, sportsmanship and friendship were central elements to the recent visit by the president of CIOR, Colonel (R) Chris Argent and the secretary general, Colonel (R) Adrian Walton to the Republic of South Africa. In meetings with senior leaders of both the regular South African National Defence Forces and the Reserve Forces, they discussed current Reserve issues of common interest.

The visit, that took place 22-26 October, came about following an invitation from the South African Reserve Force Council (SARFC), an associate member of CIOR.

The visit coincided with the South African National Defence Forces’ (SANDF) Annual Military Competition, which is run in conjunction with SARFC, and a visit to South Africa by the UK’s Deputy Commander Field Army and senior Army Reservist, Major General Bill O’Leary.

High level meetings

During the course of the visit there were meetings with senior commanders of the South African National Defence Forces, including Chief of the Army Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, Chief of Staff of South African National Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo, the Chief of Operations, South African Military Health Services, Major General Ford and Chief of Defence Reserves, Major General Roy Andersen.

Potchefstroom South African National Defence Force (SANDF) base, including teams from UK Reserves, Nigeria, People’s Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany and SA regular and Reserve forces.

Major General Andersen chaired a Special Meeting of the South African Defence Reserves Board, which the visitors attended – and at which they presented on a number of Reserve issues.

There were also extensive discussions with the hosts, Major General Keith Mokoape and Brigadier General John Del Monte, chairman and Deputy chairman of SARFC.

Military competition

In addition there was a two-day visit to the SANDF Military Skills Competition at Potchefstroom in which over 250 competitors from South Africa, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany, United Kingdom and United States were participating.  This competition closely follows the format of the CIOR Military Competition (MILCOMP) and is run by the Chairman of the CIOR MILCOMP Committee, Lieutenant Colonel Uys van der Westhuijzen.

Competitors from People’s Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and the UK awaiting the start of the 8 km cross country event.

Commenting on the visit, CIOR President Colonel (R) Chris Argent observed:

– Valuable lessons from a valued partner

– I am grateful to the South African National Defence Force and to the South African Reserve Force Council for inviting us and hosting our visit. CIOR has traditionally focussed its activities on the Northern Hemisphere and the military history, and threats that are perceived to affect NATO member countries.

– However, the military experiences and thinking of our colleagues in the Southern Hemisphere offer valuable lessons and input for us in facing the global threats, both in kinetic warfare and cyber – as well as less conventional threats that derive from nationalism, hunger and the ownership of natural resources.

– So this visit is timely to remind us we should take notice and incorporate in our thinking and vision the views of our global partners, as they challenge many of our preconceived and established ideas, the CIOR President said.

CIOR (UK) competitors in the South African National Defence Forces’ (SANDF) Annual Military Competition, the SA equivalent of the CIOR Military Competition (MILCOMP).
From left: Major General (R) Keith Mokoape, Chairman South African Reserve Force Council; Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, Chief of the South African Army; Major General Bill O’Leary, Deputy Commander UK Field Army; Colonel Chris Argent, CIOR President; Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer, Director South African Army Reserves.

Estonian ‘snap exercise’ for over 800 Reservists

The Estonian government last week decided to invite on short notice 823 armed forces Reservists to an additional training exercise, ‘Okas 2019’. Members of the 61st Combat Service Support Battalion were required to rush to rally points specified in their invites.

TALLINN, Estonia, October 23rd, 2019 (Text & photo: Estonian Defence Forces)

Okas 2019 is a readiness exercise with a purpose to test the chain of command from the decision of the Estonian government to the gathering of Reservists in their units. There is no immediate threat to Estonian security in the scenario.

Members of the 61st Combat Service Support Battalion were required to rush to rally points specified in their invites for last week’s exercise.

The mission of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) is to be ready for different scenarios, including these that are very unlikely to happen. EDF is ready to defend Estonia and is practicing it during exercises.

Efficient and viable deterrent measure

The Estonian national security concept is based on Reserve service that has proved itself to be an efficient and viable deterrent measure. The reason for this kind of peacetime exercises is to maintain and improve rapid reaction capabilities.

Being equipped right is an important part of getting ready to fight! From last week’s Reservist exercise in Estonia.

Snap exercises for Reservists at least once a year

EDF is inviting reservists regularly to different military training exercises on a longer 120-days-notice. Snap exercises have been carried out since 2016 at least once or twice a year.

Almost 80 percent of the Reservists who received the invitation, showed up. Some of them arrived to their units from places all over Europe where they work or study.

– Eighty percent response rate shows motivation to defend country

„The high numbers of reservists who immediately responded to the the call, shows that our Reservists are motivated to defend their country,“ Major General Indrek Sirel, Deputy Chief of Defence said.

For more photos from last week’s snap Reservist exercise in Estonia click here.

CIOR President briefed Military Committee

Brussels, 10 October 2019: The CIOR President, UK Colonel Chris Argent (Retd.) last Monday presented the CIOR Annual Report 2018- 19 to the NATO Military Committee (MC). The report – the first in four years – highlighted the breadth of work being undertaken by CIOR on Reserves Issues.

The report included Cyber, The Young Reserve Officer and Reserves’ ‘Best practice’ and the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the NATO Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) that agreed closer working ties to further Reserves issues within NATO.

The President reiterated that the primary task of CIOR is to be in support of NATO and in the preparation of Reservists for participation in NATO missions.

Photo, NATO HQ: General view of a NATO Military Committee meeting. CIOR President Colonel Argent (UK Army Retd.) inserted.

NATO’s reserves higher in demand

In his introduction, the Chairman of the MC, Air Chief Marshall Sir Stuart Peach (UK) highlighted the 2012 NATO Framework Policy on Reserves, and noted that most military operations now involved reservists – as regular force numbers have declined and developing niche trades often play into the reservists’ skill set.

Compliments for milestone achievements

Following the report from Colonel Argent, a number of Countries’ MC Representatives asked questions – and compliments were paid to CIOR for its process of transformation now being undertaken, that its future strategic vision was affirmed as presented by the President to the MC, that an MoU with NRFC was achieved, and how CIOR were supporting the development of Reserves across the Alliance.

Supported re-establishment of link to SHAPE

In addition, all speakers endorsed the proposal to re-establish the link between CIOR, the Reserves and the NATO operational headquarters SHAPE [Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe], and to address resource consequences of CIOR’s new level of activity – as well as to maximise CIOR’s effectiveness and Strategic Communications work.

In conclusion the Chairman of the MC, recognising the vital role now played by Reserves within NATO, was keen to see closer relationships with both CIOR and NRFC.