International Study Tour

International Study Tour

The Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC) and Civil Servants Course (CSC) of the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) conducted international study tour (IST) to Italy, Norway and Western Europe on 4 - 9 May 2014. The international study tour participants were divided into three different directions in order to promote more tailored study experience. The aim of the study tour was to expose students to NATO, EU and national strategic, operational and tactical level commands to provide insights into National, EU and the alliance’s processes and procedures.


The course led by the Commandant, Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras and academic WG CDR (R) Geoff Yapp headed to Italy. In Italy they visited the JFC Naples, the Italian Joint Operations HQ, and the Italian Navy HQ. Also, they visited the Centre for High Defence Studies, the NATO Defence College, and the NATO CIS School.

BALTDEFCOL delegation at Italian JHQ

The delegation led by the Deputy Commandant and Chief of Staff, COL Ingemar Gustafsson and academic COL (R) Zdzislaw Sliwa headed to Norway. There they took part in the MOD in Oslo, the Norwegian JHQ, the 132nd Air Wing Base in Bodø, the Amphibious Regiment, Coastal Ranger Command, and the NDUC.

Exploring the Norwegian Campaign

The Western Europe delegation was led by the Director of the Operation Department, COL Jan-Erik Mikkelsen, project officer, LTC Rimantas Česlovas Černiauskas and academic, COL (R) James Chedham. Study group visited Belgium and France in order to examine the foreign educational institutions and to promote international cooperation. They visited the NATO Special Operations HQ. In addition the delegation visited NATO HQ, SHAPE, and the EU Military Staff and the French Joint Force and Training HQ. 

Visiting the EU Military Staff

Delegation personnel participated in the different case studies that allowed students and staff members to discuss the strategic background of the campaigns and operational objectives of the 1943-1944 Italian campaign, 1940 Norway Campaign and 1944 Operation OVERLORD.

The IST proved to be an excellent balance between deepening the learning of operational art, learning about NATO and National Command structures, capabilities and challenges, as well as expanding the horizon of cultural awareness.


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