48th Conference of Commandants
The 48th NATO Conference of Commandants (CoC) was held at the Centro Alti Studi per la Difesa (CASD) in Rome, from Tuesday, 28 to Thursday, 30 May 2019. Entitled “Leadership in NATO - Challenges for the Future”, the Conference explored the educational requirements of future military leaders.
The programme for CoC 2019 focused on further development of Professional Military Education (PME) for tomorrow’s leaders, addressing the following issue: “How do we link the future security environment with the next generation of leaders, in order to enable them to think strategically, innovatively and effectively, empowering them to operate within the future security environment?”
For almost five decades, the historical mission of the NATO CoC has remained as relevant as ever. With growing involvement of Partners in the CoC’s efforts to further develop PME, the event serves increasingly as a valued forum to foster the exchange of information and ideas. It contributes to the improvement of curricula and educational methods, while fostering mutual understanding; and it also enables participating institutions to give each other assistance and support.
The Conference was co-chaired by NDC Commandant Lieutenant-General Chris Whitecross and by Lieutenant General Massimiliano Del Casale of CASD.
After an opening panel entitled ‘NATO at 70: what future challenges for the Alliance?’, the focus shifted to the perspective of senior leaders on strategy and innovation. Particular attention was given to ‘Thinking the UnthinkableTM’, a concept which is changing the leadership context and shaped much of the thinking at the Conference.
The rapidly evolving security environment was examined from the viewpoints of global demographic trends and disruptive technologies. Against this background, the second day of the Conference began with a NATO Science and Technology Organization Leadership case study. After this, leadership was examined from a historical perspective, as well as in terms of future challenges – including planning-related issues.
During the second afternoon, three syndicates were formed to discuss questions related to postmodern PME, particularly the imperative for change and inclusive leadership strategies; educational methods in preparation for non-normative events; and curriculum design.