Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors’ Course (GFOAC 2022-2)
From Monday 21 to Friday 25 November 2022, the NATO Defense College (NDC) hosted the second bi-annual Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors’ Course (GFOAC 2022-2), entitled “NATO and the New Strategic Concept”.
This high-level course aims to enhance comprehension of current political-military issues and challenges affecting the Alliance, as well as to foster mutual understanding and promote networking amongst its participants. Those include Generals, Flag Officers, together with high-level civilian decision-makers from Ministries of Defence, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and other institutions whose interests cover strategic security issues.
The Course gathered approximately 50 representatives from 33 nations, including NATO Allies, Partner countries from the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, and selected Partners Across the Globe. The curriculum of this high-visibility event combined nine lectures given in the NDC Main Auditorium by distinguished guests, each followed by a Q&A period in a plenary discussion format, in addition to discussion sessions in committee format.
Day 1 started with an introduction by Course Moderator Colonel Sylvain Curtenaz and welcome remarks by NDC Commandant Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, followed by a further introduction to the Course and to the NDC by the Course Director and NDC Director Academic Operations, Brigadier General Ferenc Molnar.
The NDC Commandant then gave the floor to the SACEUR, General Christopher G. Cavoli, who delivered a virtual lecture on “A Senior Commander’s Perspectives on NATO and the Euro-Atlantic Security Environment”.
The next lecture was focused on “The Transatlantic Link: The Cornerstone of the Alliance”, with panellists Professor Sten Rynning and Dr John Deni.
On Day 2, two panel lectures were delivered on the “Russian Foreign and Domestic Policy” and the “Security Implications of the Rise of China”, respectively by Dr Pavel Baev jointly with Mr Keir Giles, and by Dr Ashley Tellis together with Ms Meia Nouwens.
The agenda for Day 3 shifted the geographical focus to the MENA region, with Dr Pierre Razoux, as well as the Sahel, with experts Dr Luca Raineri, Dr Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou and, finally, Dr Giovanni Romani.
Lectures 7 and 8, on the fourth day, looked ahead to “the Future”, focusing on risks and opportunities arising from innovation and on NATO’s ability to deal with global uncertainties going forward. The first lecture was presented by Dr Simona Soare and Ms Zoe Stanley-Lockman, and the second lecture by Prof. Julian Lindley-French and Dr Richard Hooker.
On the last day of the Course, participants had the opportunity to attend a lecture provided by the Chair of the Military Committee (CMC), Admiral Rob Bauer, who was visiting the NDC for the Academic Advisory Board meetings. His lecture centred on “The New Strategic Concept: The Alliance’s Answer to Current and Future Challenges”. Admiral Bauer stressed that “together, NATO Allies and Partners have learned that what unites us is far bigger than what divides us. We have built our diversity into our biggest strength. We see together what we cannot see alone. We do together what we cannot do alone.”
During the plenary and committee discussions which followed the lectures, Course Members were able to delve further into the various issues raised, ask questions, and share their own experiences.
Finally, the Commandant, Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, outlined the main takeaways of the Course in his closing remarks and awarded diplomas to the GFOAC 2022-2 participants.