Senior Course 133 (SC 133) and NATO Regional Cooperation Course 20 (NRCC-20) visit the new NATO Headquarters (HQ) and the European Commission in Brussels
The first round of visits by Senior Course 133 (SC 133) and NATO Regional Cooperation Course 20 (NRCC-20) on Field Study 1 started in Brussels, where Course Members visited the new NATO Headquarters.
They were welcomed by the Chairman of the Military Committee (CMC), Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach. In his introductory speech, he focused on questions such as the speed of Alliance adaptation, strategic defence, relations with Russia, the role of partner countries and crisis management operations. Alliance Command and Control (C2) was also discussed, with regard to to standardization, sharing of intelligence and ability to train. In conclusion, CMC spoke about the scope for enhanced collaboration with international organizations such as the EU. During the Q&A, one point that he further developed was the relevance of consensus. NDC Commandant LtGen C. Whitecross was very grateful to him for having addressed the two Courses as the first speaker of their Field Study.
The follow-on lecture, by Ted Richards of the Headquarters Project Office and Transition Office, was about the history of NATO HQ, from the days of its original premises in Paris up to the recent move coinciding with the July 2018 Summit.
The next speaker was Dr Jamie Shea, who looked in detail at NATO’s (re-)emerging security challenges.
Ms Leila Schilthuis, from the Middle East and North Africa Section in the Public Affairs and Security Policy Division, then spoke about NATO policy challenges in the MENA region. This included a positive appraisal of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) frameworks.
The entire session at NATO HQ was moderated by NDC Faculty Adviser Ms N. Vellone (ITA).
The European Commission
After the visit to NATO HQ, Course Members moved to the European Commission building in the centre of Brussels.
BGen Heinz Krieb, a SC Ancien now with The European Union Military Staff (EUMS), spoke about the European External Action Service (EEAS), beginning with a historical overview of the EU and the increasingly complex dynamics associated with its governance. He looked at the organization of the EEAS, explaining the various features of defence administration. The Petersberg Tasks and Helsinki Headline Goal were illustrated, highlighting their influence on the subsequent development of EU military capability. In conclusion, the speaker touched on cooperation with NATO, the geopolitical challenges related to EU direction East or/and South, and the EU Military’s C2 structure (there is no EU military headquarters with a mission comparable to that of SHAPE).
Mr Andras Kos, Policy Officer from the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate, spoke about implementation of the NATO-EU Joint Declaration, mainly on a political level. The Joint Declaration, signed at Warsaw in 2016, now comprises 74 proposals. With cooperation between the two organizations growing, a second Joint Declaration was signed at this year’s NATO Summit in Brussels.
The European sovereignty concept was presented by Mr Ulrik Trolle Smed, a policy analyst from the European Political Strategy Centre (a European Commission think tank). He explained the relevance of this concept to Europe’s effectiveness as a global player.
The last speaker was Mr Diego De Ojeda, from the Secretariat-General of the European Commission, who discussed European defence, the defence industry and EU-NATO cooperation. He examined prospects for new investments in defence-related research and the strengthening of the EU defence industry.
The session was moderated by NDC Faculty Adviser Capt. (N) A. Bogiannos (GRC).