SC125 Transatlantic Link Field Study 2: The United Nations and New York City
NATO Defense College Senior Course 125 departed Rome on 3 November 2014 and landed in Times Square, New York City (NYC) to begin their second Field Study Program. Arriving at JFK International Airport, the Faculty and Course Members (CM) were welcomed by our host for the US portion of the field study, the US Marine Corps Special Projects Directorate team led by Maj Taunja Menke. The entire group arrived, understandably sleepy, until observing the night life at our hotel on NYCs famous Times Square.
Tuesday, 4 November, began with CM waking up to the US mid-term elections dominating the news. Arriving to the United Nations (UN) that morning, the delegation received a warm welcome from Col Kim Bruno Peterson and Ms Eirini Lemos-Maniati, the NATO Military and Civilian Liaison officers to the UN. Together they provided a briefing covering NATO-UN cooperation including policy, exercises, military operations and more. They outlined recent developments in UN-NATO interaction and finished the discussion focusing on practical ways of enhancing cooperation and dialogue between the two organizations.
Next, the group was briefed by the Office of Military Affairs and Peacekeeping Operations, Lieutenant General Magsood Ahmed, the Military Advisor to UN and Col Willem Van Dullemen. LtGen Magsood Ahmed provided an overview of the DPKO’s structure and functions, underlining the close integration of the UN military-civilian components of peacekeeping operations. Additionally, he provided information on the numerous current UN military missions. He also spoke about new approaches to peacekeeping involving rapid deployment of forces to crisis areas.
Mr Michael Marx from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) provided a discussion on the overall role on Civil-Military Cooperation in UN Humanitarian response operations. Although focused on humanitarian response and relief, he also detailed the response planning via a cluster based approach (e.g. Health, Protection and Agriculture). He finished his presentation discussing lessons learned and organizational training supported by OCHA. The organizations motto underlies their approach, “Coordination Saves Lives”.
The final briefing of the day covered the UNs current engagement in Somalia. Mr Wallid Musa Abdelkarim, Director of Somalia Desk/DPKO discussed challenges to peacekeeping operations throughout the world and highlighted that fast-paced failures of governments has become the norm. Highlighting various missions within peacekeeping operations, he noted that military personnel are challenged with new mission previously not seen including long-term (10+ year) operations and hybridized threats. Discussing Somalia, he portrayed a multi-national/multi-organizational organization approach including the UN, the African Union, the European Union and other organizations all integrated into this mission.
All presenters provided CMs an excellent opportunity to learn more through their frank answers to direct and pertinent questions.