To achieve a higher level of interoperability with NATO forces, Azerbaijan continues to use the tools of the Operational Capability Concept (OCC) Evaluation and Feedback (E&F) programme.
The OCC program is a practical multipurpose military tool that serves to establish close operational relationships between the Alliance and partner countries, which will potentially contribute to NATO-led operations by supporting partners’ effort to develop fully interoperable and operationally capable forces in compliance with NATO standards and procedures.
Having participated in this program since 2007, Azerbaijan has successfully completed the evaluation exercises in a number of its units. In 2010, Azerbaijan, which had completed an infantry company evaluation, continued its efforts by declaring an infantry battalion to the OCC process. Finally, in 2014, after completing all the required evaluation levels of the OCC E&F program, this battalion obtained the relevant NATO certificate. In 2017, in order to revalidate its certificate for the next three year as required by NATO regulations, the same battalion participated in the relevant exercise and completed this process successfully.
All the exercises were conducted under the supervision of the NATO and national evaluators along with a number of experts from Allies, including the US and Turkey.
To enhance the effectiveness of the program in its Armed Forces, Azerbaijan declared a new reconnaissance company within the OCC framework in 2015 and this unit is involved in evaluation exercises. In the long-term, Azerbaijan is planning to complete the training and equipment of the brigade so it can sustain an entire infantry battalion on operations including full combat support and combat service support.
Along with these, the Armed Forces are also applying the benefits of the OCC Program to other types of troops. In 2016, two MI-17 Transport Helicopters of the Air Force and the Maritime Interdiction Operations Boarding Party of the Naval Force were declared into the OCC Pool of Forces. Abovementioned units are systematically involved in required evaluation exercises.
Azerbaijan also attaches great importance to its self-evaluation performance skills through participation in OCC evaluation courses and in other Partner Nations OCC evaluation exercises. As part of NATO’s OCC pool of experts, Azerbaijan officers are invited as evaluators and even as team leaders to OCC activities in Partner countries to provide relevant assistance and share their experience. OCC E&F programme helps Azerbaijan also to second its officers to the OCC staff position within the NATO Command Structure. Currently, a majority of Azerbaijan PSP officers are taking service in OCC related positions at various NATO Headquarters.