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Conference of Commandants

  • 08 Dec. 2021
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  • Last updated: 9 February 2017


 Vice-Admiral J.C. O'Brien (Canada), Commandant of the NATO Defense College from 1970 to 1973

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.

Policy Guidance for the NATO Defense College (MC 0123/9)

The Conference of National Defence Institute Commandants (Conference of Commandants) is a three-day annual conference, organized by the NDC, which brings together the Commandants of the national and other senior defense institutions of NATO, partners, NNEs private companies, universities, think-tanks and other academic bodies under the Chairmanship of the Commandant of the NDC.

Normally held in spring, the Conference of Commandants provides a forum to foster the exchange of information and ideas between authorities that share similar responsibilities in the field of higher defence education. In particular, it assists in improving the academic programme and educational methods while fostering mutual understanding and awareness and identifying areas in which Defence Colleges can provide assistance or support to each other.

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