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NDC Commandant Season’s Greetings

  • 22 Dec. 2020
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  • Last updated: 22 Dec. 2020 17:35

Dear Staff and Course Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before leaving for the Christmas break, I wanted to have you all in together, or at least listening at a distance, to these few words.

Seasons Greetings

First and foremost, I want to thank you all for bearing with us despite the circumstances that complicate our daily lives and our work here.

Thank you to the academic teams, the faculty advisors, the members’ section, the library staff and our interpreters;

Thank you to our academic programmers, planners, operators, field study teams, who have made sure that the curriculum could still be executed, and who have displayed a constructive sense of creativity and adaptation to ‘the new normal’.

Thank you to our researchers who have consistently delivered outstanding products.

Thank you to the support staff, the logistics branch, the CIS and audiovisual team, the human resources, interns, VEROs, the budget and finance people, our drivers and Carabinieri officers, the mess staff and the cleaning teams who, because of their dedication and effectiveness, have enabled us to carry on with our mission, and you Course Members with your studies.

And thank you to the Course Members for keeping up the motivation, for performing well and for helping us to demonstrate that the College can carry on even in these troubled times. We are all part of a live experiment which was not of our choosing, but brought upon us by the pandemic. Hard times, however, can sometimes be of great value in pointing to the way ahead and determining which way the College should go and how to expand.

We’ve just had a very fruitful Academic Advisory Board meeting that confirmed the need for the College to keep its flagship residential course, with modifications for telework and fall back options of course, but with the main effort always given to the work that goes on inside and between the Committees - in short – physical and intellectual human interaction at its best.

The AAB also started paving the way for an increase in outreach and engagement activities: as you know, we already have the Kiev week, the Commandants’ Conference and the Anciens’ Seminar. New ideas have surfaced concerning a potential Gulf Week, and meanwhile we have already started engaging with the G5 Sahel Defence College in Mauritania, and this is just a beginning. What about opening up a course designed for journalists? What about a seminar for parliamentarians?

These are just ideas for the moment, as we still await the approval of our policy document by the Military Committee, which I hope will be achieved in the early part of next year. In the meantime, we will continue to work under our present trial structure, and continue experimenting.

So, there is more work ahead for us, and more work ahead for you with the rapidly-approaching Senior Course 138, and the IPs and CSPs showing the tips of their noses.

But before we get to all that, please enjoy a well-deserved Christmas break with your loved ones. Be cautious, in all of our nations the COVID statistics are not good, take heed of the protocols - as much as you possibly can, stay safe.

And do come back!
Happy Christmas to you all.

Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann
French Army
NDC Commandant

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