52nd NATO Conference of Commandants
From 9th to 11th May 2023, the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) and the
NATO Defense College (NDC) jointly hosted the 52nd Conference of Commandants
(CoC) in Tallinn, Estonia. This year, the Conference titled “Online education
as a full substitute to in-person education“ was co-chaired by Lieutenant
General Olivier Rittimann (FRA NDC), the Commandant of NDC, and Brigadier
General Ilmar Tamm (EST A), the Commandant of Baltic Defence College.
CoC is an annual event organized by the NATO Defense College, which brings
together the Commandants of NATO’s and partner nations’ leadership of
Professional Military Education (PME) institutions to exchange information and
ideas in the field of higher defense education.
The day prior to the main Conference, the NATO Commandants’ only session took
place. The session was honoured by the President of the Republic of Estonia,
who highlighted the importance of educated military staff by saying: “Properly
trained and educated military staffs are essential to ensure that we will be
successful in preventing a conflict through effective deterrence or repelling
any possible attack.”
During the main Conference, both Commandants’ welcomed over 100 participants
worldwide representing respective Allied and partner nations' PME
institutions. In his opening speech, NDC Commandant, LTG Olivier Rittimann,
highlighted that CoC provides a “unique forum in which Allies and Partners
from across a wide and diverse collection of academic and education
institutions can come together to discuss contemporary and future issues that
affect all of us.” BALTDEFCOL Commandant, BG Ilmar Tamm, greeted the guests in
his hometown and expressed his sincere interest in this topic and networking
opportunity. He stated that COVID-19 showed how quickly we must adapt to the
new situation and how valuable the online-learning is in these
The program continued with different presentations focussing on NATO’s
e-learning: present and future on the first day. The presentations were
followed by a Q&A session. In order to consolidate and exchange views on
the content discussed during the briefings, participants were divided into
three groups, together with the lecturers, for syndicate discussions.
The second day focussed on case studies giving examples of advanced
distributed learning adaptation, for example, during the war in Ukraine. In
addition, BALTDEFCOL lecturer AMB Shota Gvineria briefed about the status of
the Resilience Reference Curriculum, which has been activated during the 51st
Conference of Commandants.
The official program ended with the introduction of next year’s conference
taking place in May 2024 in Washington, DC, organized by the National Defence
University of the US.