Stephen J. Mariano, Ph.D.
"Dear Friends and newest Anciens of the NATO Defense College,
We did it!
I am so proud of Senior Course 136, the Faculty, staff, and supporters of the College who made graduation this week possible! Each course is unique in its own way but no one could have expected COVID-19 to affect us the way it did. Senior Course 136 is likely to go down in the history of the College as its most resilient class. COVID-19 challenged the College in many ways, but staying the course, delivering the Senior Course curriculum on-line for three months and getting SC 136 “across the finishing line” this week was an incredible demonstration of adaptability, grit, and cohesion.
Committee 6 won the highly coveted Eisenhower Prize for its Committee Study Project on Projecting Stability. Dutch Navy Captain Bart Stoelinga was the Faculty Advisor for this Committee which included, Colonel Julien Moreau, (Committee Chairman), Colonel Edward Corrigan, Lieutenant Colonel Memduh Dere, Lieutenant Colonel Csaba Moravek, Lieutenant Colonel Claudio Papagano, Chung-Hsaio “Thomas” Peng, and Commander Vasileios Theodorou. Dr Cynthia Salloum, from the Research Division was the Academic Mentor and Mr Marc Di Paola, Director of Defence Institution Building in NATO’s International Staff, served as their NATO Headquarters Sponsor.
In addition, we identified five Senior Course Individual Papers as being worthy of publication: “Partnership: A Source Of Cohesion Through Turbulent Times,” by Norwegian Navy Commander Pal Gudbrandsen; “Russia’s Modern Warfare Challenging The West: The Ukraine Case Study,” by Finnish Army Colonel Jarmo Keskinen; “Solving The Russian Puzzle – Adopting NATO’s Strategic Warning Capabilities To A New Security Landscape, by Norwegian civilian, Director Henning Sveum Kristensen; “Counter Terrorism In Counter Hybrid Warfare?” by Danish Navy Commander Niels Markussen; and “Increasing The Cost For Russian Hybrid Activity: Opportunities For NATO Success,” by British Ministry of Defence civilian Mr Marten Molloy. Please look out for these papers on the website in the future.
We also said good bye to Lieutenant General Christine Whitecross who is returning to Canada and retiring from the Armed Forces after 38 years of service. She initiated structural changes that will posture the College for the future and also deftly steered the College through the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, she initiated the development of the College’s first-ever strategic communications framework, created the College’s first-ever code of conduct, established the College’s first-ever respectful workplace council, appointed the first-ever gender advisor, and conducted the first-ever NDC Commandant senior leader engagements in Taiwan, Pakistan, and New Zealand. That’s a lot of firsts! As our navy colleagues say, “fair winds and following seas” LGEN Whitecross!
We also welcomed French Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann as the 30th Commandant of the NDC. He comes to us from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) where he served as Vice Chief of Staff. He’s no stranger to NATO and you can read more about his career here. Bienvenue, mon Général!
Latest COVID-update: we are finalizing preparations to welcome Senior Course 137, NATO Regional Cooperation Course 24 and all the other NDC courses in the fall. We’ve made a short video to show you some of the measures we’ve taken to prepare for the next semester and protect ourselves from a potential “second wave”. The team has been working hard and demonstrated that we’re all in this together. Unitatem Alentes – for unity we strive, so let’s strive together.
And stay in touch!