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Saturday 12 May 2012
Senior Course 120 Field Study II: Visit to Brussels (2)
Following the visits to the Belgian Defence Staff Headquarters and to the Mons-based Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), on 10th May NATO Defense College Senior Course 120 (SC 120) spent the last day of its Transatlantic Field Study trip in Brussels. The day was dedicated to two institutional visits: NATO Headquarters, and the Council of the European Union.
At NATO HQ SC 120 received a series of comprehensive briefings, each followed by a useful question-and- answer session. The group was welcomed by General Knud BARTELS (DNK A), Chairman of the Military Committee (CMC). In his welcome address, General BARTELS provided an overview of the ISAF mission and its future development towards transition of security responsibilities, highlighting a number of issues that will be discussed at the NATO Chicago Summit in a few days’ time. The speaker complemented his presentation with pertinent and frank answers to a broad range of questions from Course Members.
Mr. Brendan Wilson (USA C), Senior Joint Forces Analyst from the Defense Policy & Planning division (DPP), International Staff NATO HQ, then spoke to the group about the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) and force planning. He not only explained in detail the rationale and aims of the Alliance’s planning processes, but also examined the integration of NATO Partners through the new NATO Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process (PARP).
The next speaker was Ambassador Alexander VERSHBOW (USA C), NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, who gave a very timely update on the agenda to be discussed at the end of May during the Chicago Summit. A wide range of issues were covered in this briefing, from lessons learnt as a result of the Libyan experience to Smart Defence and partnerships.
Further details on the Smart Defence concept and the defence package for the Chicago Summit were provided by Mr. Ludwig DECAMPS (BEL C), Director Strategy and Smart Defence in NATO International Staff’s Defence Investment Division.
The final speaker was Ambassador Gábor IKLÓDY (HUN C), Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, who addressed the Alliance’s major security challenges and dilemmas - both current and future - following the 2010 Lisbon Summit.
Following this very fruitful morning at NATO HQ, SC 120 visited the Council of the European Union for a detailed session on the role of the EU in crisis management, its institutional and operational links with the Alliance, and the important issues that sometimes hamper better cooperation between the two organizations.
The session began with a welcome address by Lieutenant General Anton Van OSCH (NLD A), Director General of the EU Military Staff (EUMS). Following his introductory remarks the speaker examined the role of the military in the EU, providing an extensive overview of the areas involved in military integration and the Comprehensive Approach to crisis management in the EU.
Brigadier General Walter HUHN (DEU F), Deputy Head of the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD), then addressed Course Members on strategic and current issues related to the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). In a comprehensive survey the speaker covered the development of the new External Action Service, the EU crisis management structure, and current operations.
The final speaker was Ms. Mercedes GARCIA PÉREZ (ESP C), Deputy Head of Operations for Civil Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) in the Council of the EU, who updated Course Members on current and planned EU operations.
Before the return journey to Rome, SC 120’s Transatlantic Link Field Study concluded with a reception at the Château Val Duchesse, hosted by the CMC and the Belgian Association of NDC Anciens.