The primary focus of students’ education is on developing the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in an unknown future where the only constant changes. Electives are the key means of achieving this, which makes them an essential part of the professional education within the Higher Command Studies Course (HCSC), Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC) and Civil Servants Course (CSC).
Electives allow students to take greater ownership of their development and receive a broader education.
From 22 to 26 March, BALTDEFCOL conducted seven different electives of which three allowed for external participation:
In the light of COVID-19, all these electives were conducted online. Cooperation has always been a very important part of the BALTDEFCOL, so due to close cooperation with Centres of Excellence in the Baltic states and beyond, the attractiveness and high quality of the electives have been raised.
Our partner institutions
During this period, 20 participants from 11 nations joined the BALTDEFCOL team to participate in the third iteration of the BALTDEFCOL Operational Level Energy Security Course. The course provided the participants from a wide array of military, government and civilian organizations with knowledge of the importance of energy and energy security in the current geopolitical situation and its influence on military operations. Lectures and discussions were delivered in cooperation with specialists from the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence and a network of subject matter experts from the U.S. Naval Post-Graduate School Energy Academic Group (Monterrey, California), the European Centre for Countering Hybrid Threats (Helsinki), the NATO Maritime Security COE (Istanbul), and others. Each day’s main topics were organized under NATO’s three pillars of energy security: energy security awareness, critical energy infrastructure protection, and military energy efficiency. The students participated in collaborative work (red teaming, blue teaming, collaborative workshop) focusing on the defence of the Baltic region energy systems from hybrid threats as they relate to each of the three NATO energy security pillars.
At the same time, the NATO Intermediate Strategic Communications Course was conducted through cooperation between the BALTDEFCOL and the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Latvia. Among lecturers, there were representatives of the NATO HQ Public Diplomacy Division and SHAPE Communications Division, as well as the Latvian Joint HQ and the Estonian Defence Forces.
The aim of the course is to educate military and civilian decision makers and planners on how to ensure the full integration of StratCom into operations and crisis management situations at all levels within their headquarters in support of their execution. Key topics are NATO Strategic Communications, NATO StratCom policy and its relationship to Political Military Direction and Guidance, Information Environment Assessment, StratCom functions and capabilities, StratCom planning products and implementation of StratCom considerations into a battle rhythm. This year in total 37 participants – 9 students and 28 external participants from all three Baltic countries, as well as Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungary, Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Moldova, Italy, and Denmark. This ensures excellent multinational cooperation during syndicate works, including expertise from different level HQs and ministerial level.
Thirdly, in order to facilitate adequate response to the rising challenges in cyberspace, we organized the pilot course the Cyber Defence Policy on National and International Levels with the support of the European Security and Defence College. Although this year the elective was conducted as a pilot project, interest towards the course was enormous. In total, 53 participants from 19 nations received an integrated overview of contemporary geopolitical affairs and security issues to stimulate participants’ critical thinking about issues of strategic importance.
The curriculum provided the participants with basic skills and knowledge to analyse and design a proper policy framework and strategy for cyber defence. A variety of speakers from the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, e-Governance Academy and other institutions represented diverse opinions from political, military, academic, and private sectors stressing the importance of the comprehensive approach and cross-sector cooperation for strengthening cybersecurity on national and international levels.
Next year the above-mentioned courses will take place from 14 to 18 March 2022 in Tartu or hybrid way. Check the BALTDEFCOL Website later this year for registration details.