Generals, Flag Officers & Ambassadors’ Course (GFOAC 2016-1)
From 9 to 13 May 2016, the NATO Defense College held the Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors’ Course (GFOAC 2016-1). On this occasion, 38 high-level civilian and military participants from NATO, the Partnership for Peace (PfP), the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and Global Partner countries gathered for this year’s course entitled “NATO in the light of the Warsaw Summit”.
On Monday morning, the Head of the NDC Academic Planning and Policy Division, BrigGen Heinz-Josef Feldmann (DEU A), gave an introduction to the Course with details provided by Col Erick Landes (FRA A). The Dean of the NDC, Dr Daria Daniels Skodnik (SVN C), gave the welcoming remarks. Prof Christopher Coker (GBR) delivered the opening lecture, in which he addressed “Cultural Dialogue: the Western Encounter with the Rest”. The topic of the afternoon lectures by Ambassador Robert E. Hunter (USA) and Prof Dr Rob De Wijk (NLD) was “The Transatlantic Link: the Cornerstone of the Alliance”.
On the following day, GFOAC Course Members heard two interesting lectures: “The Security Implications of the Rise of China”, by Prof Jonathan Holslag (BEL); and “The Future of NATO”, by Mr Michael Rühle (DEU). Mr Rühle defined NATO as “the Transatlantic Learning Community” and explained its ability to learn and evolve in parallel with the challenges it faces. Each of the lectures was followed by a plenary discussion.
On Wednesday 11 May, participants were briefed by Prof A. Fawas Gerges (LBN/USA) and by Prof Mustapha Benchenane (FRA), who spoke about “The Middle East and North Africa”. The final lecture of the day was given by Prof Dr Gunnar Heinsohn (DEU), who focused on the “Security Implications of Demographic Trends”.
The programme for the next day offered topical and stimulating presentations on issues that are at the centre of the Alliance’s agenda. Prof Aurel Braun (CAN) and Dr Heidi Reisinger (DEU) provided valuable insights on “Russia, NATO and the Crises in Ukraine and in Syria”. During the final lecture of the day, Prof Dr Holger MEY (DEU) examined “Technological Development: Risks and Opportunities”.
On the last day of the Course, Mr Camille Grand (FRA) gave a talk on “The Future of Conflicts and its Implications”.
Before awarding Course Members their diplomas, in his concluding remarks, BrigGen Feldmann summarized key messages from the week’s lectures and discussions, thanking participants for their contributions to the GFOAC, which once again has enhanced the understanding of current politico-military issues within the Alliance and among its partners.