Inauguration of Senior Course 126
This week the NATO Defense College welcomes Senior Course 126 (SC 126), which brings together 71 Course Members from a total of 28 countries. These include not only NATO member states, but also countries within the Partnership for Peace (PfP), the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), as well as Global Partners.
The inauguration of SC 126 took place on 24 February, in the Maynard-Thorn Auditorium at the NDC. Following his welcome address to Senior Course 126 and his words of gratitude to the distinguished guests, referring in particular to the Italian Permanent Representative to NATO, H.E. Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, for their presence at the ceremony, NDC Commandant Major General Janusz Bojarski (POL F) introduced guest speaker H.E. Ambassador Douglas Lute, the US Permanent Representative to NATO.
Ambassador Lute encouraged Course Members to focus from the outset on the challenges related to the continually evolving role of NATO on the international scene. In this respect, he underlined NATO’s status as the most adaptable, durable and effective such alliance in history.
He also pointed out the priorities to be addressed by NATO, starting with “unfinished business” - a commitment on which depends the Alliance’s credibility worldwide. International leaders recognize the values of NATO in the importance it attaches to the spirit and the principles of partnership. Increased political consultation is a fundamental requirement in this respect.
The Ambassador’s inspiring speech was followed by a Q&A session, moderated by Col Kent Soebbing (USA A), where Course Members had the opportunity to engage the speaker on current Alliance priorities and on related subjects such as international defence spending, as well as NATO and US relations with Russia against the background of recent events in Ukraine.
During the next five and a half months, Course Members will gain a more detailed understanding of international affairs and politico-military relations, the major security-related issues affecting NATO, as well as regional and global perspectives. The Course will also cover subjects such as natural resource management, climate change and security, cyber defence and demographic trends, as well as future trends in warfare technology.
The format for Senior Courses is comprised of academic briefings on current challenges, given by invited lecturers, and in-depth discussions which afford an excellent opportunity for participants to hone their skills in critical analysis.
SC 126 will also include brief visits to key institutions in a number of Alliance and Partner nations, as well as to NATO HQ, the two Strategic Commands and the United Nations.