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NDC - News-NATO Conference of Commandants to Meet in Washington, DC: Mapping the Future of National Security Leadership Education

NATO Conference of Commandants to Meet in Washington, DC: Mapping the Future of National Security Leadership Education

  • 06 May. 2024
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  • Last updated: 06 May. 2024 13:35

Washington, DC (06.05.2024) – Coinciding with the 75th anniversary year of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, the NATO Conference of Commandants will this year be held for the first time in the United States. The NATO Defense College (NDC) and the National Defense University (NDU) will co-host the 53rd edition of this annual conference on the NDU campus at Fort McNair, in Washington DC, from 7 to 10 May 2024.

NATO Conference of Commandants to Meet in Washington, DC:
Mapping the Future of National Security Leadership Education

The Conference aims to gather the Commandants of senior defence education institutions from 24 NATO member countries and 24 NATO partner countries, alongside key international institutions such as the Baltic Defence College, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, the G5 Sahel Defence College, the European Security and Defence College, and representatives from selected NATO bodies. Conference activities include keynote addresses, panel discussions, and syndicated break-out sessions. Through these events, participants will explore the future of national security leadership education, exchange knowledge, share experiences and identify opportunities for enhanced cooperation across their educational programmes.

Since its inception in 1972, the annual NATO Conference of Commandants has been a cornerstone of collaboration in the realm of strategic education. Conference topics are chosen to address the evolving challenges faced by the Alliance. Educating and training military officers and civilian officials is key to equipping them to face these challenges. The 2024 theme, "Developing Leaders for the Next 75 Years of the Alliance", will explore the future of leadership within NATO and partner nations.

This year’s Conference will jumpstart conversations and engagement between senior NATO and NATO partner representatives, military experts and opinion leaders. By listening to panel discussions and keynote speeches, and participating in interactive sessions, attendees will explore the essential skills and insights needed for navigating tomorrow's strategic challenges.

Keynote speakers include General Charles Q. Brown, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff; Lieutenant General (Ret.) Mary F. O’Brien, former Director of Command, Control, Communications and Computer/Cyber, and Chief Information Officer, J6, Joint Staff, and current principal of Mary O’Brien Strategies; Dr Eric Schmidt, former CEO and Executive Chairman of Google; and Vice Admiral Guy Robinson, Chief of Staff of NATO Allied Command Transformation.

Discussions will be held under the Chatham House Rule and will focus on:

  • Setting the stage for leadership education and training in NATO: What are current and envisaged educational and individual training policies and programmes supporting leadership development?
  • Challenges and opportunities in the next 75 years of NATO: What trends and developments will fundamentally alter the environment that future leaders in NATO will face?
  • Implications for leadership competencies in the next 75 years of NATO: With ever-growing complexity, interconnectivity and dependency, speed, diversity of actors, a plurality of threats and challenges, what does that require from leaders of tomorrow?
  • How to best prepare leaders to operate at the strategic level in the next 75 years?

The Conference of Commandants 2024 isn't just a conference—it's a chance to shape the future of leadership across the Alliance.

For media enquiries and further information about the NATO Conference of Commandants 2024, please contact:

NATO Defense College Public Affairs:
[email protected]
+39 06 50525284
National Defense University Public Affairs:
[email protected]

About the NATO Defense College:

The NATO Defense College (NDC) is NATO’s leading strategic educational and research institution. Founded in 1951 by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the College offers senior-leader education to military officers and civilian officials from NATO Allied and partner nations, focusing on contemporary global security issues, viewed from a transatlantic perspective. The College supports NATO’s mission by developing the future leaders of the Alliance, building human interoperability through networks and partnerships, and supporting decision-making with research. NDC courses equip future leaders with the strategic-thinking, networking and negotiation skills that are essential to thrive in a multinational, political-military environment, and crucial to navigate NATO’s consensus-based decision-making processes.

About the National Defense University:

NDU is the premier national security institution focused on advanced joint professional military education, leader development, and scholarship. It prepares senior leaders to think and lead effectively at the highest levels in an increasingly dynamic, complex and unpredictable international security environment. It does this by preparing them to understand, develop and employ strategies that incorporate all elements of national power. This senior leader development is made possible by NDU’s holistic approach and unique combination of curriculum, location, and student and faculty diversity. The student body comprises officers and civilian officials from the Department of Defense, all US military services, 30 federal agencies, 4 private-sector firms, and 80 allied and partner nations.

NDC Public Affairs Office