Just prior to the Joint Graduation with the Senior Leaders' Course in Vilnius on the 22nd of November, the Command Senior Enlisted Leaders' Course (CSELC) conducted the Baltic Defence Study trip to Latvia and Lithuania. The study trip is an integral part of the Command Senior Enlisted Course (CSELC) and takes place in the context of the National Security Challenges module, with the main learning outcome to ‘investigate recent developments in the defence policy and defence planning at the national, bilateral and multilateral levels.
The Program started with visiting Adaži in Latvia. Throughout the stay, the class had a chance to get a glimpse of the mission and activities of the Multinational Division North, the Latvian Mechanized Infantry Brigade and the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group. Additional value was added by the opportunity to meet the multinational troops participating in the mission. Time spent with soldiers reminded the class about the essence of the CSEL’s service. We do exist for the support of our people.
Photo by TF Latvia – Rob Kingerski
On day two, CSELC paid a visit to the Lithuanian Air Force facilities. It was important to understand the functioning of the Baltic Air Policing mission. On top of the information obtained during the presentations, the group was introduced to the equipment and weapon systems currently in use.
Photo by Antanas Gedrimas
Once the visit to the Air Force was completed, the class went to the famous Hill of Crosses, where it started a new tradition. Namely, during a short ceremony, the cross was erected by the CSELC class 2022. Now, it stands among more than 100,000 other crosses in this special place. It is foreseen that each class visiting Lithuania in the future will add its inscription. This would be a perfect demonstration of the continuity of the CSELC format.
The next day was dedicated to the political/strategic level of decision-making in Lithuania. The class was privileged to visit the National Parliament (Seima) of the Republic of Lithuania. The Chair Committee on National Security and Defence Mr Laurinas Kasciunas found time in his busy schedule to provide an overview of the latest developments of the Lithuanian defence, so and the challenges the State faces. The inauguration at the political level was a very fruitful activity for CSELC as the connection between teaching at BALTDEFCOL, and the real political system could be experienced by each individual participant. The chairman was challenged, in a positive way, with competent and reasoned questions from CSELC participants. The visit ended with a tour of the parliament, where the story from Soviet rule to independence was told by the most enthusiastic and energetic narrator from the protocol service.
To add the layer of National Defence in the Military domain, the program continued with a visit to the Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, where a couple of presentations were delivered. SGM Darius Marozas, the graduate from the CSELC and the CSEL of the headquarters, provided a very sobering presentation while reminding once again anyone about the main task of CSEL to have soldiers always ready for their ultimate task – defending the homeland from the aggressor.
This enlightening day concluded with a visit to the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lithuania. H.E. Mathias Sonn briefed the group on the German perspective on Baltic regional security. Exciting discussions with the Ambassador and its staff continued over the dinner.
Photo by Murugesvaran Subramaniam
The overall feeling of the class was that the study trip with such a program and level of engagement added a lot of value to the course curriculum while allowing the course participants to validate the information received during the course based on the sample of visited small states. It is highly recommended that the same experience will be accessible also for the courses to come.
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