SC 126 European Security Perspectives and Partnership for Peace Field Study - Bern
From 31st March to 2nd April 2015, Senior Course 126 visited Switzerland, a long-standing and very active member of the Partnership for Peace (PfP). The visit consisted in two distinct parts, the first focusing on information acquisition and academic insight, and the second with a broader cultural and social emphasis.
On 1st April, the group, led by NDC Commandant Major General J. BOJARSKI, received several briefings on a number of topics related to Swiss security and defence policy in the capital city of Bern. Lieutenant General André BLATTMANN (Chief of the Swiss Armed Forces) took the floor to welcome the NDC delegation, explaining in detail the main current goals of the Swiss Armed Forces: increasing readiness, improving cadre training, fully equipped operational units and reinforced territorial divisions. This first lecture was followed by a brief question and answer session, finishing with an exchange of gifts between the NDC Commandant and the Chief of the Swiss Armed Forces Joint Staff.
Then, three shorts lectures were delivered. An overview of the main challenges, fundamentals and key elements of Swiss Foreign Security Policy was provided by Doctor Michele CODURI, Head International Security Section in the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; Colonel Bruno RÖSLI, Deputy Head of Security Policy in the Ministry of Defence, covered Swiss Security Policy, addressing current threats and dangers, International Security Organizations, features specific to Switzerland and instruments and direction of Swiss Security Policy; finishing with Brigadier General Daniel LÄTSCH, Commandant of the General Staff Schools, who presented Swiss Defence Policy. The session ended with an extensive and very productive question and answer period with the three lecturers, and a lively and comprehensive discussion about different Swiss security and defence issues.
In the afternoon and evening SC 126 participated in two host nation events, visiting Interlaken and attending a dinner in Kornhauskeller, where the Course Members of SC 126 had the opportunity to meet some Swiss ‘Anciens’, from former NDC courses.
The next day, the NDC delegation heard four additional briefings: the first about International Geneva and how International Organizations work in Switzerland, delivered by Colonel Christian BÜHLMANN, Head of the Regional Development Programme; the second one dealing with security sector reform, democratic governance, development and the rule of law, presented by Lieutenant General (ret) Michel STOLLSTEINER, advisor of the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF) Centre; and the third one about mine action, landmines and beyond, History and Conventions and the role and activities of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining ( GICHD), given by Mr Gianluca MASPOLI, advisor of this organization. The session finished with a fourth presentation, also delivered by Colonel Christian BÜHLMANN, about the role of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). The four briefings were followed by a very interesting question and answer period with the three panellists.