Higher Command Studies Course’s International Study Trip

From 15th to 21st of April, the Higher Command Studies Course (HCSC) of the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) is conducting an International Study Trip (IST) to Berlin (Germany), Paris (France) and Brussels (Belgium).

The aim of the IST is to gain access to decision-makers and receive briefings from Germany, France, NATO, EU and Belgian civilian and military officials on defence planning and policy related topics. The study trip is carried out as part of Module 4 “Generating National Security”. It intends to enable the students to expand their understanding of policies and planning procedures of the visited countries and institutions.

On 16th of April, the Berlin group started their IST in Germany. The group attended a meeting in the German Federal Foreign Office followed by a visit to the German Council on Foreign Relations. In the afternoon, the group was hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Defence. Throughout the day, the staff and students were presented the German view of the world situation, perception of the USA, Russia and China, and vision of NATO in the future.


The Paris group of HCSC started their IST in Paris, France. The first day was assigned to the MoD of Armed Forces of France where they received a series of excellent briefings on French view on operations, future planning and NATO/EU matters. Afterwards, the HCSC course and the college staff were invited to the Embassy of Latvia where the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia gave a speech followed by a discussion and an exceptional reception.


On the second day of the IST, the Berlin group of the HCSC visited the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. Afterwards, the group was welcomed to the German Bundestag where they met the members of Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees. The group received an overview of the current situation and future developments of the German Armed Forces. They were also briefed on the current security challenges and their possible solutions. The Paris group started their day by visiting the Assemblée Nationale. After a beneficial discussion in the Defence Committee, the students visited the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. The topics under discussion included anti-terrorism and organised crime.


On 18th of April, the groups of the HCSC were united again and the IST continued with a visit to the Belgian Defence Headquarter where the students were presented a view of the current global issues and future of the Armed Forces development. After a fruitful discussion the students moved to the Lithuanian Embassy in Belgium and had discussions with the Military Representatives of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to NATO. The day was completed by a panel discussion with the representatives of the NATO HQ International Staff experts.


On 19th of April, the HCSC continued their study trip with a visit to SHAPE where they received a historical overview of SHAPE and update on their major current and future challenges. It was followed by a visit to the NATO SOF HQ where the students and staff got acquainted with their structure, work and plans.

The last day of the HCSC's international study trip started with a visit to The European Union Military Staff (EUMS) in Brussels. The students received insights and comprehensive briefings on the EU planning processes and issues the EU is facing. The study trip was finalised by visiting EGMONT – The Royal Institute for International Relations.




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