Generals, Flag Officers & Ambassadors’ Course (GFOAC 2015-2)
From 9 to 13 November 2015, the Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors' Course (GFOAC 2015-2) took place at the NATO Defense College (NDC), bringing together 44 high-level civilian and military participants from 28 NATO countries.
The Course, whose theme was “NATO: Beyond Current Crises”, was introduced by Course Director BrigGen Heinz-Josef Feldmann (DEU A), Head of the NDC Academic Planning and Policy Division, and participants were warmly welcomed by the Dean of the NDC, Dr Daria Daniels Skodnik (SVN C). On the first day, lectures on “The Transatlantic Link: the Cornerstone of the Alliance” were given by Ambassador Robert E. Hunter (USA), Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and Prof. Dr Rob De Wijk, Director of the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. The topic of the afternoon lecture by Mr Michael Rühle (DEU), Head of Energy Security Section in NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division, was “The Future of NATO”. Mr Rühle gave a wide-ranging overview of the various challenges facing NATO in the months and years ahead.
On the following day, GFOAC Course Members enjoyed two lectures: “Cultural Dialogue: the Western Encounter with the Rest”, by Prof. Christopher Coker (GBR), London School of Economics and Political Science; and “Russia, NATO and the Crisis in Ukraine”, by Prof. Aurel Braun (CAN), Professor of International Relations and Political Science at the University of Toronto. In the afternoon there was a VTC entitled “The Strategic Challenge of NATO’s Operation in Afghanistan”, with LtGen Tim Radford (NATO/GBR).
On Wednesday 11 November, Prof. Fawaz A. Gerges (USA/LEB), London School of Economics and Political Science, and Prof. Mustapha Benchenane (FRA), Université René Descartes (Paris), gave detailed talks on “The Middle East and North Africa”. In the afternoon, Dr Jonathan Holslag (BEL) from the Free University of Brussels spoke about “The Security Implications of the Rise of China”.
The programme for Thursday 12 November focused on two topical subjects. Prof. Dr Holger MEY (DEU), Head of Advanced Concepts, CASSIDIAN, gave a lecture entitled “Technological Development: Risks and Opportunities”. The afternoon lecture, on “Cyber Power - The Cyber Domain as a Military Operational Domain”, was by Dr Sandro Gaycken (DEU), Director of the Digital Society Institute.
On the last day of the course, the topic was “The Future of Conflict and its Implications”. The speaker was Mr Camille Grand (FRA), Managing Director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique.
In his closing remarks, NDC Commandant Major General Janusz Bojarski (POL AF) summarized fundamental messages from the week’s lectures and discussions, thanking participants for their contributions to the GFOAC. This edition of the high-level course once again proved of great value and interest to participants, thanks to a varied schedule of lectures and question periods with leading experts on the topics addressed.