MStrat Student Mal Craghill on a visit to HQ ARRC

Purposeful activity, influence and context are three themes which keep recurring during the MStrat programme. I wasn’t consciously looking for them during our visit to Exercise ARRCADE FUSION at RAF St Mawgan, but they were plain to see. As one who has worked in headquarters on operations and on exercise I was taken aback by the sheer scale of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps exercise, involving as it did some 16 NATO nations. I was struck by how coherent the headquarters was, how well everyone knew the mission and how much effort was being put into its achievement. The integration of civilian and military activity to achieve influence across the area of operations was way beyond what I have seen previously, as was the context being brought to the exercise by a well-resourced and tightly run Exercise Control – including input from very senior and experienced civilian experts. Being a participant in such activity tends to constrain one from taking a coherent view of the overall effort; visiting ARRCADE FUSION allowed a wider view, and what I saw was impressive.