- Research & Publications
- About the NDC
Conference of Commandants - Origins and Purpose
Origins and purpose of the Conference
The Conference of Commandants of Alliance Defence Colleges was established by Vice-Admiral J.C. O'BRIEN (Canada), Commandant of the NATO Defense College from 1970 to 1973, acting on a suggestion from Rear Admiral S. Mathwin DAVIS, the Commandant of the Canadian Defence College.
The first Conference was held in Rome from 24 to 26 May 1972. The annual meetings were set up to provide a forum in which those responsible for higher defence education could have fruitful exchanges of views.
As a result of the changes to the security environment in the late 1980s, the Conference took on an important new dimension. In accordance with the 1991 Rome Summit guidelines on fostering cooperation with the Central and East European countries in the field of education and training, the Conference was enlarged in 1992 to include a number of PfP/OSCE countries with higher defence education establishments. It was further enlarged in 2000 to include the Mediterranean Dialogue partners.
With enlargement, a dual format was adopted. The first part of the Conference was reserved for NATO Commandants, while the second part, the Enlarged Conference, was open to Commandants of higher defence educational establishments in the Partnership for Peace and Mediterranean Dialogue Nations. In 2003, the NATO-only first day of the Conference was abolished.
The Conference has a dual purpose.
Firstly, to facilitate the exchange of information between those responsible for higher defence education with a view to improving curricula and teaching methods.
Secondly, to promote cooperation in higher defence education between Colleges in NATO countries and their counterparts in Central and East European and Mediterranean Dialogue countries. The aim of the discussions is firstly to foster mutual understanding and awareness and secondly to identify areas in which Colleges can provide assistance or support to each other.
Initially the Conference was principally a forum for the exchange of information while recently it has become more output-oriented.