Generals, Flag Officers & Ambassadors’ Course (GFOAC) 2016-2 “NATO following the Warsaw Summit”
The Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors’ Course (GFOAC 2016-2) took place at the NATO Defense College (NDC) from 7-11 November. The course brought together 41 high-level civilian and military participants from 23 different countries.
This high-level course reinforces the mutual understanding of current politico-military issues, NATO's interests and capabilities among Generals and Flag Officers and high-ranking civilians, including ambassadors from NATO, the Partnership for Peace (PfP), the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), Contact Countries & China.
The GFOAC also provides opportunities for networking among one- to three-star officers and civilians of equivalent rank on current and prospective issues facing NATO.
On Monday morning the Course Director, Head of the NDC Academic Planning and Policy Division BrigGen Heinz-Josef Feldmann (DEU A), gave an introduction to the Course, whose theme was “NATO following the Warsaw Summit”, with details provided by Col James Huber (USA A). Participants were warmly welcomed by the Dean of the NDC, BrigGen (ret.) František Mičánek (CZE). Subsequently, an opening lecture entitled “Cultural Dialogue: the Western Encounter with the Rest” was delivered by Prof Christopher Coker (GBR), Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. The topic of the afternoon lectures by Ambassador Robert E. Hunter (USA) and Prof Dr Rob De Wijk (NLD) was “The Transatlantic Link: Cornerstone of the Alliance”.
On the following day, GFOAC Course Members enjoyed two interesting lectures: “The Security implications of the rise of China” by Prof Johnathan Holslag (BEL) and “The future of NATO” by Mr Michael Rühle (NATO/DEU).
On Wednesday 9 November, Dr Nicola Pedde (ITA) and Prof Mustapha Benchenane (FRA), provided a detailed and focused lecture on “The Middle East and North Africa”. In the afternoon, a motivating lecture entitled “Security Implications of Demographic Trends” was delivered by Prof Dr Gunnar Heinsohn (DEU).
The programme for Thursday 10th offered topical and stimulating presentations on issues that are at the centre of the Alliance’s agenda. Mr Keir Giles (GBR) provided valuable insights on “Russia’s Threat Perception and Military Outlook”. The afternoon lecture on “Technological Development: Risks and Opportunities” was by Prof Dr Holger Mey (DEU).
On the last day of the Course, Gen John W. Nicholson (USA), Commander of the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, gave a lecture and answered Course Members’ questions regarding the progress of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
In his closing remarks, BrigGen Feldmann summarized key messages from the week’s lectures and discussions, thanking participants for their contribution 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.