HCSC International Study Trip 2023

The students of the Higher Command Studies Course (HCSC) 2023 accompanied by faculty members conducted the International Study Trip (IST) to Brussels and Warsaw last week.

The focus of the 2023 International Study Trip was on NATO, the European Union and Allied European countries. It provided an opportunity to familiarize with the defence policies of Belgium and Poland, and to explore strategy making policies at the Alliance and national levels. The briefings by NATO International Military Staff and the European Union Military Staff offered the HCSC students and faculty up-to-date insights related to recent developments in the security environment. Students met high-level security and defence practitioners such as Major General Gabor Horvath, DDG EUMS and General Robert Brieger, Chairman of the EU Military Committee during the first day of the trip, who provided in-depth briefs on various aspects of EU defence policy and the EU intelligence landscape.  

On the second day of the trip, HCSC students and staff spent the day at NATO Headquarters and met and received several briefs covering the Alliance’s response to the changes in the security environment; an overview of core tasks and ongoing activities across the Air, Land, and Sea domains; and an overview of core tasks and current developments, including the Strategic concept, and NATO defence planning process. Speakers included the Mil Reps of the Baltic states, BG Ilmars Lejins, Deputy Director, Policies and Capabilities Division, and the Estonian Ambassador to NATO and the EU, Jüri Luik.
During the third day, the HCSC was welcomed at the Belgian Defence Staff by LT COL Francoise Verbanck. During this visit, students learned about the Belgian defence policy and the current operations of the Belgian Armed Forces. 

The visit to Poland was an occasion for the HCSC to gain in-depth knowledge about current security and defence developments within the Polish Armed Forces. MG Cezary Wisniewski, Deputy Commander, General Command, Polish Armed Forces welcomed the HCSC and provided a brief on the Polish Armed Forces General Command as a force provider.

The HCSC benefited immensely from briefs covering current security and defence developments in Poland by the Director of the Department of Strategic Analyses, Mr. Marcin Kazmierski. Poland’s role in international security and defence cooperation was covered by Mr. Piotr Kras, from the Polish MOD. MG Karol Dymanowski, Deputy Chief of the General Staff briefed the course on the long-term development plans of the Polish Armed Forces. Armament programmes for the Polish Armed Forces was covered by COL Marciniak, Deputy Director of the Armament Agency, and an overview of the Polish Territorial Defence Forces was delivered by BG Maciej Klisz, Territorial Forces Commander.

During the final day of the IST, the HCSC visited Frontex. Students received an introduction to Frontex by Carsten Simon, Head of Risk Analysis Unit. An overview of the cooperation of Frontex with the Baltic states and Poland was delivered by Vygintas Kaziukonis, Liason Officer Unit. Briefs on Frontex operations with a focus on the Baltic states, and a presentation of Frontex Situation Centre were delivered by Eleftherios Karzis, Risk Analysis Unit, Elena Gerdzhikova, Field Operations Unit, and Emanuele Misiano, Frontex Situation Centre. 

The IST constitutes an essential and integral part of the HCSC curriculum and supports the learning outcomes of the course and respective modules. The study trip provided students with an excellent opportunity to meet national, regional, and global practitioners working in decision-making environments. Moreover, it provided course participants the opportunity to obtain first-hand knowledge of Allied, European, and national policies, as well as armed forces and cultural values.


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The seminar with the faculty of the National Defence University of Ukraine


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