45th Conference of Commandants
The 45th iteration of the Conference of Commandants of Defence Academies (CoC 2016) took place at the National Defence University in Warsaw from 23 to 25 May.
The first day, MGen Janusz Bojarski, Commandant of the NATO Defense College and CoC Chairman, gave an opening speech introducing the very full programme. A welcome address was then made by Col Dr Ryszard Parafianowicz, Rector-Commandant of the National Defense University Warsaw and Co-Chair of this year’s Conference. Two keynote speakers from NATO then made presentations: Mr Mark Laity, Chief of Strategic Communication Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and Mr Diego Ruiz Palmer, Special Advisor to the Secretary General for Economics and Security, Head Economics and Security Assessments Unit, NATO HQ, who discussed “Hybrid Warfare: A Machiavellian Design? The Overt and Covert Faces of Strategic Intent”.
In his speech, MGen Bojarski stressed the importance of the Conference which has, over time, created a valuable network of some 50 nations and institutions from all over the world. Cooperation and partnerships are still a vital aspect of NATO’s policy and the speaker underlined the relevance of “promoting dialogue, spreading knowledge and making room for innovation”.
This year’s theme has been “Military Adaptation of the Alliance and Strategic Communication”. On the 24th of May, participants to the Conference split into four ‘Thinking Platforms’ to better discuss four challenging subjects:
- PME Adaptation to Strategic Communication Requirements;
- Hybrid Warfare and Asymmetric Threats in Learning Programmes;
- Cyber Warfare and Modern Trends;
- Adapting the NDC curriculum to new security challenges.
The ‘Thinking Platforms’ were chaired by four eminent individuals: Vice Admiral Duncan Potts, Director General, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom; Col Dr Krzysztof Wiśniewski, NDU Warsaw; Chancellor Jan Hamby, Cyber expert and Chair of the Information Resource Management College, US NDU; and Dr Daria Daniels Skodnik, NDC Dean.
In the late 1980s the Conference acquired greater significance as a result of the security environment at the time. In spite of having reached its 45th edition, it preserves its original aim: promoting dialogue between NATO and partner nations on issues relevant to intellectual interoperability, though the improvement of military education, taking into particular account Partner nations’ experience of cooperation with NATO. Worth noting this year is the contribution to the programme made by non-NATO nations. After 45 editions and in spite of major world changes, the focus of the CoC remains on the importance of partnerships.