CIOR and NRFC renew Memorandum of Understanding

The National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) and the Confédération Interalliée des Officiers de Réserve (CIOR) come together once more to enhance their partnership during the CIOR Mid Winter Meeting at the NATO HQ in Brussels.

Story by: NATO HQ

From 29 to 31 January, NATO hosted simultaneous meetings of the National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) and the Confédération Interalliée des Officiers de Réserve (CIOR). Both organisations renewed their joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to continuously improve cooperation.

“The reserves are a capable, credible and available force which continues to be an important element”

Deputy Chief of Staff of Allied Command Operations, Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, speaks at a joint meeting between the National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) and Confederation Interalliee des Officiers de Reserve (CIOR)

On 30 January, the joint session started off with a keynote address by the Deputy Chief of Staff of Allied Command Operations, Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann. The General highlighted the value of Reservists as “a capable, credible and available force which continues to be an important element of the Force structure. For some Nations reservists make up almost 50% of their National forces which is understandable when requirements increase but defence spending does not follow. Whereas 20 years ago, reservists were considered more of a last resort, nowadays they are considered incremental to any Nation’s Armed Forces, providing the manpower and specialised skill to supplement regular armed forces”.

“Reserve forces are providing the manpower and specialised skill to supplement regular armed forces”

The meeting was also an opportunity for the NRFC Chairman and the CIOR President, respectively Brigadier General Robert Głąb (POL) and Colonel (R) Chris Argent (UK), to renew their joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The result of a year’s work, the MoU aims to establish a cooperative and productive relationship between the two organisations as well as outline their partnership and channels of communication. “The NRFC and CIOR are complementary organisations, the first focusing on the Reserves and the second on Reservists. It only made sense to renew this MoU to make sure that where possible we complement each other. The aim is also where and when possible to present a united front and joint advise to the NATO Military Committee. We can only be stronger together”, added Brigadier General Robert Głąb.

President of the Confederation Interalliee des Officiers de Reserve (CIOR), Colonel (R) Chris Argent (UK) and the Chairman of the National Reserve Forces Committee, Brigadier General Robert Glab (POL)

NATO has always recognised the importance of national Reserve Forces and the compelling requirement to better understand and exploit the inherent potential of reservists and Reserve Forces. NATO works on reservist issues through three different entities: the National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC), the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (known by its French acronym CIOR) and the Interallied Confederation of Medical Reserve Officers (CIOMR).

Understanding Tomorrow’s Warfare Begins Today

The 2019 CIOR Seminar on “Warfare 2030 – Technology, Policy, Ethics” was held in Bonn (Germany) from January 26 to 29, 2019, with young CIOR reserve officers as well as seasoned members from many NATO participating countries.  

By Major Jean-François Lambert, CIOR Public Affairs Officer

*Le texte en français suit*

This three-day seminar addressed present and future developments concerning means of warfare. This includes development on autonomous devices, on social media/InfoOps, policy development in these domains, ethical aspects regarding these developments, addressing legal aspects regarding these developments, and how we deal with non-state actors, having access to these new techniques and possibilities. To address these topics, CIOR has been able to attract speakers from NATO countries, all subject matter experts.

A spokesperson from the British Army discussing on the impact of PsyOps at the CIOR Bonn Seminar on Warfare 2030 “Technology, Policy, Ethics” held from January 26 to 29, 2019.
 Un représentant de l’Armée britannique, discutant de l’impact des opérations psychologiques durant le séminaire de la CIOR organisé à Bonn, du 26 au 29 janvier 2019.

“Information warfare is truly the understanding of the art of influencing, and I think that in the future, internet will play an even greater part in influencing populations,” says Major Geoff Nicholls, from the British Army. “While George Orwell used to say “He who controls the past, controls the future” I think it would be right to say in today’s age that “He who controls the internet, controls the future”.

Overall, an impressive event that helped us better understand the potential impact CIOR could have over the Warfare 2030!


Comprendre la guerre de demain commence aujourd’hui

Par le Major Jean-François Lambert, Officer des Affaires Publiques de la CIOR

Le séminaire 2019 de la CIOR sur «La guerre 2030 – Technologie, Politique et Éthique» s’est achevé à Bonn (Allemagne) du 26 au 29 janvier 2019, réunissant de jeunes officiers de réserve ainsi que des membres chevronnés de la CIOR de nombreux pays participant à l’OTAN.

Ce séminaire de trois jours a porté sur les développements actuels et futurs concernant notre compréhension et vision de la guerre de demain. Ceci inclut le développement sur des dispositifs autonomes, sur les médias sociaux / Opération d’Information, le développement de politiques dans ces domaines, les aspects éthiques relatifs à ces développements, le traitement des aspects juridiques liés à ces développements et la manière dont nous traitons les acteurs non étatiques, en rapport à ces nouvelles techniques et possibilités. Pour aborder ces sujets, la CIOR a pu profiter des intervenants de pays de l’OTAN, tous experts en la matière.

Workshop session on Science-Fiction movies and the link with 2030 warfare with Ms. Isabella Hermann at the CIOR Bonn Seminar.  
Atelier sur les films de science-fiction et le lien avec la guerre de 2030 avec Mme Isabella Hermann durant le séminaire de la CIOR organisé à Bonn.

“La guerre de l’information est vraiment la compréhension de l’art d’influencer et je pense que dans l’avenir, l’internet jouera un rôle encore plus déterminant pour influencer les populations”, a déclaré le Major Geoff Nicholls, du Royaume-Uni. “Alors que George Orwell disait:” Celui qui contrôle le passé, contrôle le futur “, je pense qu’il serait juste de dire de nos jours que “Celui qui contrôle l’internet, contrôle le futur “.

En somme, un événement impressionnant qui nous a permis de mieux comprendre l’impact potentiel de la CIOR sur l’environnement de la guerre 2030!

A good start

CIOR held the first In-Between-Meeting (IBM) of the UK / Estonian Presidency in Tallinn from 15 to 17 November. -I was very pleased to welcome over 60 delegates from our member Reserve Associations, and especially the President of CIOMR and the President of CISOR, said CIOR President, Colonel Chris Argent (R).

– Substantial degree of unanimity

– This was the first meeting at which our Presidency could start delivering its Manifesto, which I had laid out the Council of CIOR in Quebec in August, said Argent. – Our discussions, which demonstrated a substantial degree of unanimity amongst member nations on all subjects, covered:

CIOR Strategic Programme

Managing CIOR Business

The CIOR MOU with NRFC [National Reserve Forces Committee]

Improving CIOR’s Financial Management – for which I have appointed three Vice Presidents to constitute an advisory working group.

Committees tuned to the “Young Reserve Officer” theme

– Besides the plenary discussions of Council, the Secretary General and I met Committee Chairmen and discussed and guided their work plans, all of which are tuned to the Presidency Theme ‘’The Young Reserve Officer’’.

– This was also a unique occasion as I was particularly pleased to have some very meaningful discussions with the President of CIOMR [Interallied Confederation of Medical Reserve Officers] and the President of CISOR [Interallied Confederation of Non-Commissioned Officers], during which we discussed closer future collaboration of all three confederations during an Office Call with the Chief of Defence of the Estonian Armed Forces, General Terras, who has taken a keen interest in our affairs.

– A fitting climax to a most successful meeting

– We were most privileged to be addressed by the Estonian Chief of Defence (Designate) and the Head of the Estonian General Staff, and to be invited to the Centenary Celebrations of the Estonian Armed Forces at which the President of Estonia was present. This proved a fitting climax to a most successful meeting, and I am most grateful to the Estonian members of the Presidency Team for their exceptional organisation and management of the meeting.

The Estonian Chief of Defence speaks at the the Centenary Celebrations of the Estonian Armed Forces.

– Looking forward to Mid-Winter-Meeting

– I am very pleased with the Outcomes of the IBM in putting into effect our ambitious Manifesto, the co-operation and commitment which all delegates made to the meeting, and I look forward to welcoming the maximum number of CIOR delegates to the Mid-Winter-Meeting (MWM) to be held in Brussels at NATO Headquarters from 29 January to 1 March 2019, the CIOR President said.

More than 60 delegates from CIOR member Reserve Associations, the President of CIOMR and the President of CISOR had very fruitful discussions at the In-Between-Meeting in Tallinn in November.


Reservists make up most of Estonia’s armed forces

Estonians bravely pledge to defend themselves “in all circumstanses and against all adversaries, no matter how overwhelming”. Colonel Veiko-Vello Palm, Head of the Estonian General Staff designate delivered an impressive and very honest and straightforward presentation of the country’s armed forces to the CIOR In-Between-Meeting audience.

Estonians bravely pledge to defend themselves “in all circumstanses and against all adversaries, no matter how overwhelming”. And most of the country’s armed forces are actually made up of reservists. The small Baltic country of 1,3 million people has an army of merely 3,500 men and women in continous service. So the large corps of dedicated and well trained reservists are indispensable to Estonia’s national defence.

Colonel Veiko-Vello Palm, Head of the Estonian General Staff designate delivered an impressive and very honest and straightforward presentation of the country’s armed forces to the CIOR In-Between-Meeting audience.

14,000 regular reservists represent 60 per cent of Estonia’s wartime stregth

Estonia’s regular reserve forces count 14,000. The national Defence League provides an additional strength of 6,000 reservists. The Defence League is a paramilitary defence organization whose aim is to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land area and its constitutional order. The Defence League possesses arms and engages in military exercises. The organization is divided into 15 Defence League regional units, called malevs, whose areas of responsibility mostly coincide with the borders of Estonian counties.

Spends over two per cent of annual GDP on Defence

Estonia is one of few NATO nations that has reached the Alliance’s expressed goal of spending at least two per cent of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence. Steadily climbing over the last several years, the defence budget now amounts to 520 million Euros, which is 2,17 per cent of GDP.

Estonia is one of few NATO nations that has reached the Alliance’s expressed goal of spending at least two per cent of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence.

Estonian reserve officer association table flag.

By: Roy Thorvaldsen, CIOR PA Committe Chairman.

CIOR “In-Between-Meeting” kicks off in Tallinn

The opening session of the CIOR In-Between-Meeting in Tallinn, Estonia.

The CIOR In-Between-Meeting (IBM) 1 in Tallinn, Estionia, kicked off this morning. The Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces designate, Major General Herem, opened the morning session, and received the CIOR Plaque by CIOR President, UK Colonel Chris Argent (R).

The Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces designate, Major General Herem, addressed the audience at the start of the morning session, and received the CIOR Plaque by CIOR President, UK Colonel Chris Argent (R).

The following meeting between the National delegations discussed a new draft Memorandum of Understanding between CIOR and the National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC). CIOR and NRFC has a close working relationship in addressing reserve affairs issues and potential within the NATO and associated member nations; in addition, both organizations provide advice to the NATO Military Committee at NATO Headquarteres in Brussels, Belgium, on the use of reserves in Alliance operations.

The agenda also included deciding on the dates and locations for future events and candidacies for future presidencies, among other management issues. The day was closed with a presentation on Estonian Armed Forces by Colonel Palm, Head of the Estonian General Staff designate.

Following the opening session the meeting discussed a new draft Memorandum of Understanding between CIOR and the National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC).

British CIOR Presidency visiting Estonia

The new British CIOR Presidency led by Colonel (R) Chris Argent visited Estonia in september. This was in light of the 2019 CIOR Summer Congress in Tallinn, Estonia. The British Presidency is working closely with the Estonians, who are scheduled to take over the Presidency in 2022, and with Germany, scheduled to provide the Presidency 2020-2022.

UK takes over Presidency at Summer Congress in Quebec City

August 10, 2018 – Quebec, CIOR Public Affairs.

By: U.S. Air Force Reserve Senior Airman Justin Fuchs.

Canada hosted the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) and Interallied Confederation of Medical Reserve  Officers (CIOMR) annual Summer Congress from August 3 to 10, in Quebec City, Canada.

Founded in 1948 and officially recognised by  NATO in 1976, CIOR provides advice on the best use of reservists and improves the knowledge of NATO authorities about national reserve forces. CIOR mainly meets twice a year, at the Summer Congress rotating between member countries and at the Mid Winter Meeting in Brussels.

– An honour to host the CIOR Summer Congress

“It is an honor to once again host the CIOR/CIOMR Summer Congress,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Canadian Minister of National Defence. “Through our defence policy, strong, secure, engaged, our Government has committed to further integrating reservists into the total force and providing it with sufficient numbers, training, preparation, and equipment to be ready to contribute to operations at home and abroad. I am proud that our CAF reservists are joining our international partners to discuss common Reserve Force issues, such as contribution to international operations, training and employer support.”

The activities of the 2018 CIOR Summer Congress have been held in several locations around Quebec City, including the Québec Citadel, CAF Base Valcartier and the Pointe-à-Carcy Naval Reserve. The 2nd Canadian Division has provided the personnel and facilities required, welcoming all participants and guests to the various activities and ensuring this international event runs smoothly.

– Good opportunity to demonstrate Canada’s professionalism

“I am pleased to be a part of such a special event that brings nations together, develops important cross-cultural dialogues and provides a forum for collaborative approaches to common problems,” said Major-General P.J. Bury, Chief of Reserves and Employer Support. “Hosting and participating in CIOR Summer Congress 2018 is a good opportunity for us to demonstrate the professionalism of Canada’s Reserve forces and the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole.”

More than 23 nations participated in discussions on prominent issues related to military reserves including the contribution of reserve forces to international operations, reserve training, education and employer support.

Forging links between reserve officers of many different nations

This annual Summer Congress provided an opportunity for participating nations to forge links between military reserve officers, share best practices, develop viewpoints on issues in support of the NATO alliance, and foster reserve officer professional development.

“The 2nd Canadian Division and the Joint Task Force (East) are proud to welcome and take part in the CIOR Summer Congress in Quebec City,” said Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan, Commander, 2nd Canadian Division. “This is an excellent opportunity to share our Reserve Force’s significant contributions with our allies, take active part in discussions to improve our common practices, and foster our reservists’ professional development. This excellent forum for new ideas and innovative concepts will allow us to continue building a strong and operationally focused Reserve Force.”

Military Competition central to Summer Congress

An integral component of the Summer Congress was a three-day military competition where more than 150 reservists from 23 countries tested their skills in marksmanship, military navigation, land and water obstacle courses, hand grenade throwing, combat first aid knowledge, and the application of the Law of Armed Conflict. Established in 1957, MILCOMP is an internationally recognised competition focused on military skills that challenge the leadership and physical fitness of reservists from different nations.

The Summer Congress ended with closing ceremonies and a gala dinner for all those who attended before dismissal until the Mid Winter Meeting.

The UK took the Presidency of CIOR from the closing of the Summer Congress 2018 till 2020 after a most successful summer congress for which I thank our Canadian friends.

Fundamental shift

– The UK Presidency marks a fundamental shift in the way CIOR does business, says president, UK Army Colonel Chris Argent (R). – For the first time in many years there is certainty as to the next 6 years presidencies (UK, Germany and Estonia) and the UK Presidency will work towards formulating long term strategies and plans looking ahead over this period.

– The UK is a nation committed to the use of Reserves as part of an integrated Defence Force and many thousands of Reservists have served and indeed still are serving in Afghanistan Iraq and other missions around the world. Reservists not only bring their military skills which are placed at the nation’s use but have their civilian and careers enriched by their military commitment, Argent said.

Focussing on the Young Reserve Officer

CIOR provides the opportunity for Reservists of 34 nations to come together in a range of activities intended both to increase personal development, aid retention and improve the quality and breadth of reserve service and also to develop and inform stakeholder nations’ knowledge of Reserves and disseminate best practice. In particular the theme of the UK Presidency ”The Young Reserve Officer” recognises the dialogue needed to attract, train, retain and develop the young leaders of tomorrow’s Reserves.

– I am honoured to have been chosen to lead the UK Presidency. The presidency is ground breaking for being in effect a collaboration between the UK and Estonia, with nearly half of the team being found from our allies. This chimes with the UK’s already close relationship with Estonia in providing ground forces to the Eastern Flank of NATO, Argent emphasized.

Technology and cyber top-of-mind during civil-military cooperation exercise

Canadian Army·Thursday, August 23, 2018


By Second Lieutenant Natalia Flynn, Army Public Affairs

Quebec City, Quebec — Reservist civil-military affairs specialists from 14 nations came together in early August 2018 for the seventh annual CIMEX (Civil-Military Cooperation Exercise), a hands-on training event that kicked off the 2018 Summer Congress of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve and Medical Reserve Officers (CIOR/CIOMR).

For the first time in 28 years, Canada hosted this NATO-endorsed association of Reserve professionals from NATO member countries, Partnership for Peace Programme and non-member nations. The 2018 CIMEX was also the first to be given official status as a NATO training event.

The role of civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) specialists is to help enable more effective cooperation between the military and civilian worlds to the benefit of both. CIMIC specialists meet with civilian leaders of communities in which they deploy to share information and determine the needs and capabilities of the local populace. They then advise their military commanders on effective ways to work with civilian government and non-government organizations during a mission.

Advanced technologies in humanitarian assistance

For three days, CIMEX participants applied their expertise as advisors to their respective militaries on how to best use advanced technologies in humanitarian assistance and disaster response scenarios. Senior officers shared best practices and discussed their experiences of working in challenging environments with multiple players. The exercise concluded with presentations of team-developed solutions for a mock crisis scenario.

Highlights of the teamwork component included trialing virtual battle space technology, led by technicians from the 2nd Canadian Division Simulation Centre at 2nd Canadian Division Support Base Valcartier. CIMEX participants travelled through a three-dimensional representation of the crisis area via unmanned aerial vehicles and other modes of air and ground transportation to survey the terrain for which they were responsible.

Realistic overview

“Virtual battle space technology offers a much more realistic overview of what is happening on the ground during a crisis, which enables users to have a more accurate picture of the situation and make better decisions,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Lessard, Commanding Officer of 35 Combat Engineer Regiment.

Participants were challenged in discussions about the cyber domain and its growing impact on CIMIC. Cyber operators are a relatively new trade in the Canadian Armed Forces. They can expect to face misinformation tactics, hacking and other electronic threats while working with communications infrastructure, which plays a central role in effectively coordinating humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions.

– Reserves are the perfect candidates

Lieutenant-Colonel Norman White, lead Canadian Army planner for CIMEX, was impressed with the collaborative spirit of the exercise and the quality of the plans produced by the teams. “Reservists are the perfect candidates for this type of work, as they often bring a tremendous body of experience with them from their civilian work lives that is very applicable,” he said.

Major Holly Cookson of the United States Air Force Reserve, and a long-time CIMEX planning committee member, said that members’ civilian work experience not only benefits their military occupation, but lessons learned with international military peers during events such as CIMEX can transfer to one’s civilian career as well.


CIOR CIMEX 2017 – Forging greater CIMIC Resilience in Prague


Forging greater CIMIC Resilience in Prague

The international Confédération Interalliée des Officiers de Réserve (CIOR), of which South Africa is a part, includes a Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) Committee. This committee successfully executed its seventh annual CIMEX (CIMIC Exercise) as a preamble to its committee work during the 2017 Summer Congress held in the Czech Republic. The CIMEX was held at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague over the weekend of July 27th to 30th, 2017, with the theme “The Migrant Crisis and the Changing Role of CIMIC Resilience and Internal Defence” CIMEX is guided by key overriding objectives: “to encourage liaison, networking and information sharing, and promote best practice within the international CIOR CIMIC community . . . in order to better understand our international partners, and work more effectively together.”

CIMEX 2017 built upon the foundation laid in its 2016 iteration held in Madrid, Spain, expanding on the ‘Refugee Crisis’ topic. It saw some 27 attendees as well as presenters and observers drawn from Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US).
Lectures during CIMEX came in many forms, namely on ‘Mass Migration – What it is & Challenges’ by US Colonel Mona Jibril; ‘The World Today’, ‘What is CIMIC – A Dialogue’ and ‘The Military and Resilience’, by UK Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Olley; ‘Internal Defence and Challenges in Countering Violent Extremism’ by Dr Marlen de la Chaux from Germany; ‘Migration Crisis – Legal Implications for the Military’ by Captain Dr Gergely Toth from Hungary; ‘Building a Refugee Reception Center – A German Perspective’ by Lt Col Dr Ralf Scheffel from Germany, and ‘Maritime Migration: Coast Guard Operations & The European Crisis’ by US Coast Guard Commander Eric Driggs.


The practical desktop-based exercise component of CIMEX grouped participants into multi-national teams with two hours at hand to tackle a fictional refugee crisis scenario in a similar fashion to that experienced in CIMEX 2016. This gave participants the opportunity to put their varied CIMIC expertise to use in response to the complex conflict situations which triggered the scenario’s socio-political crisis.

The ‘Exercise Sea Crossing’ scenario involved a large stream of displaced persons moving from one large landmass to another over the ocean. This required syndicates to produce a CIMIC assessment presentation with recommended course of action to be followed. The dynamic nature of the scenario shaped subsequent CIMIC decision making processes by groups. They had to endeavour to promote the safety and security of civilian entities, and yet to support the overall mission commander’s mission and intent. These courses of action were presented by the three groups to the scenario contingent commander.

International Security and Defence Consultant, Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Olley, British Army (Rtd), was on hand to facilitate the CIMEX scenario, devised in concert with CIOR CIMIC Committee members.
In the post-CIMEX 17 feedback committee session, the committee acknowledged an overwhelmingly positive response from the participants. Every category was rated higher than previous responses recorded in 2016. Participants acknowledged a well-chosen theme and excellent lectures, while information added by fellow attendees had allowed them to further develop their own CIMIC capabilities.

During the course of CIMEX 2017, CIOR Council members also attended CIMEX briefings and presentations. Following his attendance, the President of the CIOR, Czech Colonel Arnost Libezny, commented: “While the speakers all presented salient insights to the migration crisis in Europe, the meat of what CIMEX provides comes in the form of the exercise scenario itself.” He added that, “This year’s ‘Exercise Sea Crossing’ scenario that Vanessa and her committee developed allowed the CIMEX participants to really apply the concepts introduced and propose innovative strategies for their nations, both from their combined civilian and military perspectives.”

The CIOR Summer Congress 2017 proved to facilitate a highly productive environment for the development and eventual unanimous acceptance of CIMEX 2018’s theme at CIOR Council level. This will be “The Intersection of CIMIC & Technology: Exploring Information Challenges in Complex Emergencies”. CIMIC Committee members will reconvene in February 2018 at the CIOR’s Winter Meeting at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium to provide content structure for the next CIMEX to be held as part of the 2018 CIOR Summer Congress in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

The CIMIC Committee continues to grow from strength to strength as it strives to fulfil its CIOR constitutional mandate of organising CIMIC symposia and exercises, fostering effective CIMIC in humanitarian aid missions that facilitates aid to civil authorities and communities. The reservist CIMIC practitioner continues to be the epitome of Churchill’s conceptualisation of a reservist as ‘twice the citizen.’

To get the full story and pictures, please have a look at the PDF attached below.


MILCOMP 2017 was a success


Many challenges awaited this year’s competitors in Prague, but have been mastered very successfully

CIOR Military Competition
Concurrent with the CIOR Summer Congress 2017 in Prague, more than 200 athletes were scheduled to participate in CIOR’s military competition – MILCOMP. Established in 1957, MILCOMP is considered one of the most important military sport challenges worldwide. Each year, reservists from NATO countries and associated countries such as Switzerland and South Africa come together to compete in a highly specialized military pentathlon and to identify the world’s fittest reservists. The competition focusses on military skills that truly challenge the leadership and physical robustness of its participants. The disciplines are shooting with rifle and pistol (precision and rapid fire), a 500m long obstacle course, a 50m long water obstacle competition to be mastered in uniform, a military orienteering march event with map reading and range estimation as well as grenade throwing. In addition to the physical challenges, all competitors compete intellectually in tactical first aid and Law of Armed Conflicts (LOAC) competitions. A comprehensive test of physical and mental readiness!

Thus, if you are successful in the CIOR competitions, you can be sure to be one of the world’s fittest reservists in every respect.

Training for the Unpredictable
Teams participating in MILCOMP follow an intense training schedule during the months leading to the CIOR Summer Congress. They prepare the different disciplines with great attention to detail in order to master them for the competition. However, this year’s MILCOMP started with a surprise: A few days before departure to Prague, the teams received the message that competition grounds will not be available and thus, all disciplines have to be improvised spontaneously. As a result, preparation changed to a few hours on the day of the competition instead of an elaborate training concept, which was followed for several months. Despite this unpredicted challenge, teams mastered it greatly as their disciplined training enabled them to adapt quickly – a realistic test of changing conditions, as they happen in military operations and combat.

International Exchange
MILCOMP is also an ideal opportunity to promote and expand one’s own linguistic and intercultural skills. Despite the competition between the nations, sporting fairness ranks first. All teams, instructors and referees are in continuous exchange. The exchange is particularly intense in international teams as individual reservists of different nations compete. An entire week of English-speaking teamwork, especially in situations of physical and mental stress is a unique learning experience for everyone.

Arrival in Prague
After arriving in Prague, the competition began immediately. No detailed tests of competition grounds and material, but instead only a short inspection and then the immediate start of the competition.
In the late afternoon, all teams, together with the other participants of the CIOR / CIOMR Summer Congress, participated in an opening ceremony high above Prague’s old town.

Building an Obstacle Course…
On the first day of MILCOMP, all teams drove to the former Soviet military training ground “Tankodrom Milovidze”. Throughout the next days, they got to know the area well; obstacle course, hand grenade throwing, shooting and orientation took place here. The obstacle course was created after privatization and did not meet military competition standards. 20 obstacles made of wood, ropes and tires, had hitherto only been able to endure recreational usage. 15 minutes of the CIOR competitor’s test were sufficient to proof that not even half of the obstacles could withstand – they were not designed for that much strength and speed. Renovation and reinforcement began immediately. Three hours before the start of the first team, motor saws and hammer-hammering boomed over the course. With success, the reinforced track survived almost all 26 teams. In the end, Team Netherlands 1 finished just ahead of Team Germany 4, followed by Team Finland 1.

… and Set-Up a Shooting Competition
Day 2 of MILCOMP was all about shooting. First, participants shot the rifle disciplines, followed by the pistol disciplines – at around 37°C in the shade. The shooting discipline resulted in yet another unforeseen challenge: The lack of time to adjust the weapons’ sights as usually. But in the end, they mastered it well and Team International 2 finished just ahead of Team France 4, followed by Team Germany 1. Best marksman became Brian Mdlalose from South Africa.

Water Obstacle Course
The third day of MILCOMP offered a very contrasting program: A full day in the swimming pool. However, neither water obstacle course nor enough uniforms for swimming were available. So once again, the jury improvised: US Navy SEAL Commander Grant State developed an alternative based on SEAL training: 12.5m swimming sprint, releasing a fixed buoy, 12m sprint with the buoy in hand or between the teeth, dive and attach the buoy under water, out of the water, twist, head jump, 12.5m sprint, dive and take a 10kg heavy AK47 dummy under water and 12.5m final sprint with the rifle. Team Great Britain 5 scored 829.73 points and thus became first, followed by Team France 2 and Team Germany 4.

In the evening, all participants enjoyed a special entertainment program: The “National Evening” offering Czech specialties at the Hotel International – best food, folkloric performances and music in the heart of Prague.

Orienteering March
The final highlight of every CIOR competition is the orienteering race. Once again, competitors went to the former Soviet military training ground in Milovidze. The practical test in Combat Casualty Care took place at the beginning of the run: First aid to injured players in bunker systems while being under strict supervision of the referees, doctors and paramedics of CIOMR. Then 14km through the rough terrain: Hot, sultry, thorny and overgrown, accompanied by heavy rain towards the end of the run. Some of the maps were from Soviet Union times and thus, required a lot of imagination: How did the tree structure develop over 30 years? Which paths are new and which are no longer recognizable? Which buildings on the military training ground were probably secret and never displayed on a map? At the finishing line, the competitors faced another exciting surprise: Each team had to master a trench full of obstacles carrying sandbags on the shoulders.

Team Germany 4 was the fastest team to run the orienteering course, but were placed 2nd after Team Great Britain 5, that showed superior performance in throwing hand grenades. Team Germany 3 was placed 3rd.

After the Competition
Back in the residence, the athletes celebrated their own achievements with an athletic evening.

The last day started intellectual: 3 hours of presentation, videos and discussion on Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) with the CIOR Legal Committee and subsequent team-based test.

In the evening, the award ceremony made this year’s MILCOMP results official: Overall, the first place of the MILCOMP went to members of Team Germany 4 who also became the overall winner of the category “Veteran“. The second place was awarded to Team Finland 2, followed by Team Germany 2 placed 3rd, but winning the category “Experienced“. Team International 2 ranked first within the category “International team“. In the category “Novice“, Team Netherlands 1 was able to foster its lead and thus placed first. Team France 3 became the winner of the category “Female team“.

We congratulate all competitors for these excellent results!

Many thanks to the German MILCOMP team for providing pictures and experience reports from the MILCOMP 2017 in Prague.