International Study Trip for Joint Command and General Staff Course
From 6th to 10th June, the students of the Joint Command and General Staff
Course conducted an annual International Study Trip (IST) to enhance and
deepen the knowledge gained during the Course. It enhanced awareness of the
international security environment in the Wider Baltic Sea Region and the
dynamics of multilateral and bilateral defence cooperation to boost regional
security. For the IST, the Course was divided into two groups, and each group
visited one country – Finland and Sweden.
The trip started with participation in the National Day celebrations of Sweden
on 6th June at the King’s Palace. The ceremony of the changing of the Royal
Guards was an admirable event for the students. Afterwards, the delegation
headed to Vasa Museum, an astonishing maritime museum in Stockholm displaying
the only almost fully intact 17th-century ship that has ever been salvaged.
The 64-gun warship Vasa sank on her maiden voyage in 1628.
The second day started at the Swedish Defence University. After the welcoming
brief by Brigadier General Fredrik Ståhlberg, the students had informative
discussions on the security and defence policy, the total defence concept and
military procurement processes. The visit was followed by the briefings by
representatives of the Ministry of Defence on security policy, military
capabilities, and operations. The Chief of Defence Staff of the Armed Forces
of Sweden, Vice Admiral Jonas Haggren gave students an update about the
current and future security situation, highlighting Sweden’s application for
NATO membership and armed forces development.
The highlight of the week was a visit to the Saab AB, the Swedish aerospace
and defence company, where in addition to the tour, students had an
opportunity to try the shooting simulator. They also visited Swedish Defence
On the last day, the group visiting Sweden paid a visit to King’s Battalion
(Livgardet). The Commander of the Battalion LTC Camilla Sjöhlén presented the
complexity of the tasks her unit must perform daily. Livgardet is an infantry
unit, additionally trained for official ceremonies and guarding the King's
Castle. Students visited the morning drill and walked around the premises to
see the stables and riding area. Afterwards, there was a case study discussion
with BALTDEFCOL former staff member LTC Joakim Paasikivi (Swedish Army).
The first day of the trip was dedicated to the memorial event. On 5th June,
honouring the memory of Finnish military leader and statesman Marshal of
Finland Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, the group visiting Finland laid a
wreath in the Hietaniemi Cemetery in Helsinki.
The first part of the second day was dedicated to the strategic level. The
students were welcomed by the various representatives of the Ministry of
Defence, the Security Committee, the Hybrid Centre of Excellence etc. The
discussions on Finnish defence policy, the structure, tasks, and priorities of
the defence sector were highly appreciated. Afterwards, in the second part of
the day, the briefings by the Finnish Defence Forces about command, conscript
service, and voluntary defence training broadened students’ knowledge even
further. It was followed by the introduction of the Finnish National Defence
University, its aim and tasks, officers’ education, and research.
On the third day, the students visited “Patria” - an international provider of
defence, security, and aviation life cycle support services, performing pilot
training and technology solutions. Students learned more about the
capabilities and services that the company can provide to the defence sector.
The tour was followed by a visit to the Parola Armour Museum.
The following days were focused on the units and their introduction. First,
the Karelia Brigade - the defender of South-Eastern Finland. The Brigade
Commander delivered introductory remarks. Students had the opportunity to
learn more about the Brigade's capabilities and tasks and observe a
reservists' exercise in the Pahkajärvi training area and explosive ordnance
disposal (EOD) specialists' training.
In Nyland Brigade, the students learned more about brigades’ tasks and the
training system of conscripts and reservists as well as got insight into the
coastal defence capabilities. Later, the group visited “FORCIT Defence”, which
is one of the leading suppliers of Insensitive Munition Defence Systems.
On the last day, the trip headed to the Naval Academy, which is located on
Suomenlinna Island in Helsinki. The Commandant of the Academy delivered a
presentation, which included the history of Finland and the tasks of the
Academy. The Finnish group also discussed a case study and visited the War
During the IST, students gained a better understanding of the security
challenges in the region from the perspective of selected countries and how it
reflected in their defence policies, military thinking, and doctrines,
including education and training. Moreover, cooperation with society,
industries, the scientific community, and other non-state organizations and
partners will be of great interest within the context of the comprehensive
defence in the selected countries. It is the summary and culmination point of
all topics of JCGSC education. The Course will hold its Graduation Ceremony on
16th June 2022.
The Baltic Defence College is extremely grateful to all the speakers, experts,
officials, and high-level representatives for dedicating their time and
sharing their knowledge with our students.