This week all our students are back at the College although they participate in education in the shifts; half of them are within distance learning mode. Our premises were quiet without the students, so this hustle in the corridors makes a good feeling.
For students and staff, this first week has been a busy one. Throughout the week, BALTDEFCOL Leadership and members have had the honour to host a virtual visit by Lieutenant General (ret) Erhard Bühler, the former Commander of the Joint Force Command (JFC) Brunssum. LTG (ret) Bühler will be a Senior Mentor for Combined Joint Staff Exercise Joint Resolve 2021 (JR21), which is part of the Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC) curriculum and will be conducted in cooperation with the War Studies University (POL).
The virtual visit started with a briefing on BALTDEFCOL’s mission, vision, academic activities, and ongoing developments by Chief of Staff COL Jean Trudel and followed by an office call with the Commandant, Brigadier General Ilmar Tamm. The following days were focused on the familiarization with the curriculum of JCGSC and details of the exercise Joint Resolve 2021.
On Wednesday, our students had an excellent opportunity to listen to a lecture by LTG (ret) Bühler titled “The role of NATO Joint Forces Command headquarters in NATO crises management”. The topic is closely linked with education, allowing to comprehend NATO decision-making and the specificity of working in the joint level headquarters. It was also presenting a broader scope of the JFC responsibility. It was a unique opportunity to listen to the officer with up-to-date knowledge about NATO’s role concerning the Baltic Region.
On 28th January, our core planning team of exercise JR21 conducted a Main Planning Conference (MPC) with the War Studies University. After the Commandant’s opening remarks, further plans and expectations were discussed. The preparation is ongoing, and if the COVID-19 pandemic will ease, it is expected to have approximately 300 participants to JR21, which will take place here in Tartu.
On the same day, we also had a psychical visit by Swedish Defence Attaché to Estonia LTC Jörgen Westerlund. The recently appointed new Defence Attaché had an office call with the Commandant.
The first week of February brings many guest speakers to the Higher Command Studies Course to discuss the security environment. The emphasis of the Joint Command and General Staff Course and Civil Servants’ Course will be completing staff papers, including the provision of feedback and discussions. Operational Law education will follow it.