Get Connected 2019

ACT Human Capital Development and the Human Dimension of Connectivity | Col. Jean-Michel Millet (FRA A), Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) Stavanger


Colonel Jean-Michel Millet (Army) was born on the 29th of April 1965 in Romilly, France. After five years in military high school, he joined the Army in September 1985 and graduated from the military academy in 1988. The same year, he became an armour and cavalry officer and joined the 2nd Dragoon Regiment in Laon, as a tank (AMX 30) platoon officer and tank company XO. He continued his career in the armour and cavalry branch as a training instructor, then as a tank company commander in the French forces stationed in Germany.


He then attended the US Army Command and Staff College in Fort Leavenworth (Class of 2002-2003), before being assigned as deputy defence attaché at the embassy of France in the United States. This second part of his military career saw him alternating between diplomatic and operational planning postings.


Following his posting in the United States, he was assigned to the joint planning staff as an operational planner and took part in NATO operations in the Balkans and EU operations in Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Central African Republic) from 2006 to 2009.


In 2009 he was appointed Planning Division branch head in one of the army staffs, and took part in NATO operations in Afghanistan in 2011.
Based on his extensive experience in operational planning, he was subsequently appointed operational planning teacher at the École de Guerre (French War College), in which capacity he served from 2012 to 2014.


In July 2014, he was appointed defence attaché in Afghanistan, and dean of the defence attachés community in Kabul in 2015.


Since August 2016, he has been heading the Asia-Pacific-South America Department of the Directorate General for International Relations and Strategy (French MoD). In this capacity, he was in charge of managing bilateral military relations with 76 Asian, Pacific and South American countries.


In August 2018, he was appointed Transformation Delivery Division head at the NATO Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway.
Colonel Millet is a recipient of the “Legion d’Honneur” and “Ordre national du Mérite” awards.




In this presentation, Colonel Millet focused primarily on the new Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) initiative on human capital development. NATO faces an unprecedented range of security challenges. A renewed emphasis on deterrence, defence and projecting stability is required. In addition, technology will revolutionize the way we conduct analysis, make decisions and operate in general. In order to meet these challenges a significant cultural shift is required throughout the Alliance. Crucial for this cultural change are “The men and women fulfilling roles in NATO, the doctrine, organization and leadership that guides and supports them, and the training, technology, material and information that enables them.”


In the second part of his presentation Colonel Millet went on to talk about one of the longest running organizational development programmes in NATO: JWC’s “ONE TEAM” programme. This programme aims to bridge the gap between the many cultural differences within the JWC organization. The programme proves that “enhancing human connectivity” can be done successfully and may find a broader usage in NATO.



Human capital development

Experiences (including lessons identified) from recent exercises and current operations reveal that NATO is not optimally prepared to operate in a dynamic, complex environment characterized by hybrid threats/activities against NATO interests. Forward-looking documents such as SFA and FFAO show that the projected future operating environment will amplify the challenges NATO faces. So, what critical, tangible human capital development actions need to be taken in order to begin developing a comprehensive roadmap to address this situation?


The considerations set out above constituted the main driver for ACT and the JWC to launch the “Human Capital Development” initiative. The initiative aims to:


“Foster the provision of the best prepared people, in the right place, at the right time, every time”


The initiative focuses on five lines of effort.

  1. Leader Development. Ensuring leaders are optimally trained and educated to be effective in a multinational military operation. Providing leaders with the best tools available to enhance their decision-making skills at the strategic, operational and tactical levels. NATO needs to enable all leaders by fostering an environment that embraces technology and in which creativity, innovation and initiative are encouraged.
  2. Learning Methodology. Learning methodology includes both the framework and delivery of NATO’s educational processes. NATO needs to incorporate modern educational training methods like synthetic learning environments, augmented/virtual reality and advanced distributed learning, and needs to provide the necessary framework to deliver these modern educational solutions.
  3. Organizational Effectiveness. As technology advances at an exponential pace, organizations must continually adapt their structures and processes to best exploit the benefits that these technological advances offer. Innovative approaches like “design thinking” and improving talent management processes enhance productivity and efficiency, and simultaneously improve morale.
  4. Innovation. Fostering a culture in which individuals are encouraged to be creative and “think outside the box” has never been as important as it is in today’s advanced and complex world. It is imperative that NATO’s human capital is prepared to best implement the latest technological advances.
  5. Readiness. NATO must be sufficiently manned, trained and equipped to participate in a wide range of both combat and non-combat operations. NATO’s collective readiness begins with ensuring that individuals possess the required knowledge, skills, and attributes to effectively operate in a fluid and complex future.


An inaugural NATO Human Capital Workshop was held at the JWC on the 20th and 21st of March 2019. The workshop was co-led by HQ SACT/JWC to bring together key human capital stakeholders across NATO to collaboratively develop the way forward for Human Capital Development across the Alliance. The approach of the workshop was to define the “Why”, discuss ongoing human capital development activities and map the way ahead.


The workshop transitioned to small syndicate sessions. The aim of the sessions was to identify gaps and seams across the Alliance human capital activities and identify new human capital activities and initiatives to meet future challenges. The sessions were based on input received from the Centres of Excellence in response to a gaps/seams information request and on outcomes from the past two Chiefs of Transformation Conferences (COTCs). The sessions were grouped across four of the five Lines of Effort (LOE) and focused on how these LOEs support readiness.


Conclusions and way ahead

The in-depth discussions and syndicate sessions revealed that there are numerous ongoing activities that support human capital development across the Alliance. ACT will lead in developing a roadmap/programme that links the current activities and puts a plan in place to implement required future activities and improve on current practices, education and training methods, lessons identified and feedback mechanisms. Throughout the workshops it was evident that there is abundant overlap between the five identified lines of effort.


ACT will revise the five lines of effort to three key lines of effort: leader development, learning methodology and organizational effectiveness, with the use of an innovative culture across the Alliance as a mechanism to develop those three key lines of effort. Developing these three lines of effort to meet future requirements will support and improve readiness (preparedness).



Enhancing human connectivity

During the second part of his presentation, Colonel Millet explained the challenges of the JWC in developing a “One Team” culture. With members from 29 nations, there are many cultural differences within the JWC and it therefore faces many challenges in terms of both group dynamics and individual factors. The JWC therefore started an organizational development programme in 2015. The programme focuses on “matching the staff to the mission” by integrating on the three essential levels: individual, team and organizational.


The JWC has a highly experienced staff. In order to transfer the corporate knowledge to the individual level, a handover-takeover system is in place. A second tool used is what is referred to as a culture map, which is based on the book “The Culture Map“, by Dr. Erin Meyer. It explains cultural differences and aims to give new JWC members an understanding of these differences. Furthermore, individual coaching and mentoring is conducted “The JWC is a place where you get an education.” Finally, exit interviews are carried out to obtain opinions and insights from departing personnel.


On the team level, the programme focuses on proactive team development. It involves all team levels, is tailor made and is built into the organizational development plan. Furthermore, a programme called “Stepping outside of the battle rhythm” deals with knowledge sharing and annual reflection for the staff in the branches and divisions. A third activity is ongoing education through a mentoring system and a lecture programme with both internal and external speakers.



Key take-away

Warfighting culture is what NATO needs: if the situation so requires, you must be ready to fight. The three human capital lines of effort all contribute to readiness and to the warfighting culture.
END STATE: Recognizing the importance of the current and projected operational environment, the culture of NATO as an organization has adapted to optimize collective decision making – including the prerequisite staff structures and processes – using the identified lines of effort as a catalyst.
This will require:

  • Stakeholder buy-in, NATO and nations – sense of urgency
  • Demonstration of feasibility – short-term gains (low-hanging fruit)
  • Consistency of comprehensive effort – formulate and execute plan
  • Establish strong community of interest – sponsorship of both strategic commands and specified ownership of actions


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