New academic year started for the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) on 8 August 2011.All the students of the Joint Command and General Staff Course and the Higher Command Staff Course were gathered to the main hall to listen to the greeting of the BALTDEFCOL Commandant, BrigGen Meelis Kiili.
He said to the students “This is a year in which you will look forward and you will succeed if you approach every task with energy and also confidence in yourself. The qualities that bring success here are the qualities that will determine your success in future assignments. The aim of our faculty is not just to impart knowledge but to help you to use that knowledge to reach your full potential. The aim of the College is to transform you into individuals who are confident, capable, and skilled – and who all are stewards of the best of the military and civic values.” The Commandant also stressed the relevance of the multi-nationality of the college saying that “The relationships you develop here will often be life-long bonds. Your year here can be a foundation for professional networking.” As for the teaching process, BrigGen Kiili said that “At the Baltic Defence College everyone is a teacher. Teachers teach the students, students teach each other, and often the students teach the teachers. We all have skills and knowledge and expertise that we can pass on to our colleagues. At the same time – we are all students. The best learning occurs when we are open to learning from each other.” And last but not least, the Commandant reminded the students to “enjoy the social life of Estonia and Tartu in particular.”
The JCGSC lasts for 11 months and its aim is to prepare selected officers for command and key staff appointments within combined joint and multinational headquarters. This year, the BALTDEFCOL welcomed 46 officers to the JCGSC from Estonia (11), Latvia (10), Lithuania (12), Denmark (1), Norway (1), Slovenia (1), USA (1), Canada (1), Armenia (1), Azerbaijan (1), Georgia (1), Ukraine (2), Serbia (1), BIH (2).
The HCSC is a 4.5 month long course with its body of expertise consisting mainly of international lecturers, consultants and high rank officers. The aim of this course is to prepare military and civilian defence officials, at NATO OF-4/5 level or equivalent, to be ready to initiate, lead, and implement transformation in the defence institutions of their own states, NATO and the EU in the context of current and future military operations. This year, the course consists of 16 students representing countries such as Estonia (4), Latvia (1), Lithuania (4), Poland (2), Georgia (1), Moldova (1), Ukraine (2), UK (1).
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