Field Study 1: NRCC 29 and SC 142 visit EUMS and SHAPE
NATO Regional Cooperation Course 29 joined Senior Course 142 in Belgium for the second half of Field Study 1. On 16 March 2023, both delegations from the NATO Defense College (NDC) visited the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).
The morning was spent at the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) main building. Upon arrival, the NDC delegation was welcomed by Major General Gábor Horváth, EUMS Deputy Director General. He talked about the EU’s support measures to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, stressing that the "EU is much more than a military actor". It is an institution of scale with many instruments at its disposal.
The NDC Commandant, Lieutenant-General Olivier Rittimann, delivered his opening remarks and thanked the EUMS for welcoming the NDC delegation. Course Members were then given the opportunity to hear from a panel of experts on the topic of “the EU now and after the war in Ukraine”. The panel was composed of Major General Gábor Horváth, Colonel Serhii Vershchak, Colonel Ray Murphy, Ms Anna Carin Krokstäde, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Dubec, and moderated by Dr Cynthia Salloum, NDC Faculty Research Advisor.
The panel discussed the practical impact of the war in Ukraine on the EU. They also reflected on the situation of Ukrainian Armed forces over one year since the start of the war; EU military and financial support to Ukraine; and the EU Military Mission Assistance to Ukraine. The panel also touched upon the importance of cooperation and coordination between the United States and the European Union in providing support to Ukraine. Speakers emphasised that Ukraine’s allies have “absolutely expressed their readiness to stand for Ukraine victory” and that “the EU is standing by Ukraine with what it takes for the time that it takes”.
The second panel focused on EU-NATO relations. Ms Anna Panczocha delivered a briefing on the EU-NATO relationship, cooperation and its historical background, stressing that both organizations are “natural and indispensable partners” with the same common values and who face common threats and challenges. She also addressed EU –NATO “total political unity” in response to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Major General Horvath talked about the meetings and exchanges between the EU and NATO from a military perspective. Both panels of the day were followed by a Q&A session and closing remarks by NDC Course Members.
In the afternoon, the NDC delegation travelled to Mons, Belgium, to visit SHAPE. Upon arrival, the NDC Commandant had an Office Call with the DSACEUR.
Course Members from NATO countries were welcomed by the DSACEUR, General Sir Tim Radford KCB DSO OBE. During his opening remarks, the DSACEUR presented an overview on the global context for change and the ramifications of technological and global shocks. He then spoke briefly about force organization and the transition to a deterrence and defence posture, which was followed by a Q&A session.
Afterwards, the group attended a series of classified briefings, introduced by Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Moore, from Plans J5. The first briefing, on the practical consequences at SHAPE of NATO’s DDA and the Alliance’s focus from crisis management in out-of-area operations back to collective territorial defence, was delivered by WgCdr Andrew Malbon, from the SHAPE DDA Implementation Group. Lieutenant Colonel Moore then gave an update on DDA FoP Plans, followed by a briefing by Lieutenant Colonel Justin Hawthorne, from SHAPE Nuclear Operations, on NATO’s role in conventional and nuclear deterrence vis-à-vis Russia. To conclude this first series of briefings, WgCdr Andrew Brown, OPS J3, addressed the accession of Sweden and Finland to the Alliance.
At the same time, Course Members from Partner countries were welcomed by Ms Sera Orzel Gaeta, Head of J9 CIMIC Liason Branch, in the Montgomery Auditorium. They attended a series of unclassified briefings on the DDA Concept, delivered by Mr. Janzen, NIC, J10 STRATCOM Director; NATO’s role in conventional and nuclear deterrence in the confrontation with Russia, delivered by Lieutenant Colonel London; and the accession of Sweden and Finland to the Alliance, given by Lieutenant Colonel Theo Van De Krol, OPS J3 XO.
Both groups had the opportunity to hear further briefings on NATO Partnership processes and programmes; activation of GRPs, new battlegroups, IAMD, CRMs declared, maritime posture; secondary effects of the war in Ukraine on NATO operations at large; consequences of the war in Ukraine on the North-South balance within NATO; StratCom implications of the war in Ukraine; and the implications for the ACO StratCom campaign. The presentations were followed by Q&A sessions and thank you remarks from NDC Course Members.
To conclude, the NDC Commandant delivered his closing remarks in the Conference room, while Brigadier General Jasseem Nasrallah, NDC Faculty Adviser, delivered words of appreciation in the Montgomery Auditorium.