Joint Command and General Staff Course 2022-2023 completed their International Study Trip

This week our Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC) 2022-2023, divided into two groups – Track 1 visiting Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany; and Track 2 visiting Italy – is on its International Study Trip.

On 13 June, the day of Track 1 kicked off with a visit to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). The delegation was briefed on the structure and mission of SHAPE, the management of Crises Response Measures, the complexity of challenges faced by NATO and cooperation with other security and defence agencies. Based on the active discussions held we can be assured that NATO acts' decisively in matter of hours. As W. Churchill observed, “There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.”

Next, the group visited NATO Special Operations Headquarters - NSHQ where they were greeted by Commander LTG Tony Fletcher. During the visit, our delegation was briefed on the organization, vision, Partnership Campaign Plan, and organizational structure of the NSHQ, providing valuable insights into the workings of NATO special operations and its plans for the future.

The day of Track began with a visit to Allied Joint Force Command Naples where the delegation received warm welcome by Chief of Staff LTG Vasco Angelotti. Students received overview of JPC Naples' mission, learned about the roles and duties of the Command Senior Enlisted Leader (CSEL) provided by CSM Andree Tschense, and later, had an opportunity to visit the JFC Naples Joint Operation Centre and discover the intricacies and coordination involved in joint operations. The briefings on #NATO Peacetime Vigilance and Deterrence against potential threats was thoroughly covered, giving our students a comprehensive understanding of this critical aspect of security. Last but not least, LTC Thorsten Gottlieb and MAJ Lorean Papa delivered briefings on partnership and the significant role it plays in enhancing international cooperation. Additionally, students gained insights into the ongoing partnership efforts with Ukraine, which showcased the importance of collaboration for a more secure world.

Next up, the programme included visit to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet giving deep insights into the operational capabilities, mission priorities, and ongoing and African theaters. Discussions and briefings provided unique perspectives on regional security dynamics, emerging threats, and the importance of multinational cooperation. The visit enhanced the delegation's understanding of the complexities and challenges faced by the U.S. Navy in the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and surrounding areas. This gained knowledge will undoubtedly contribute to the College's efforts in developing operational thinking and enhancing the capabilities of military officers.

On 14 June Track 1 spent a fruitful day in the Netherlands visiting JFC HQ Brunssum and getting briefs by Chief of Staff, Political Advisor, and representatives from Public Affairs, J5, and J7. Topics discussed included the history and mission of JFC Brunssum, political and strategic challenges in the region, how NATO forces achieve readiness to participate in the NATO Response Force, and NATO’s New Force Model. Later the same day, the group visited NATO Airborne Early Warning Force (AWACS) E-3A component where the staff elaborated on the history of AWACS development, establishment of the component, the role, mission, structure and capabilities, as well as component’s involvement in current operations and exercises.

Track 2, on the other, had a Cultural Day with a visit to two historical places – Pompeii and Monte Casino. In the city of Pompeii, we had a great opportunity to get acquainted with the extensive work of archaeologists, as a result of which we had the opportunity to see how the inhabitants of this city lived and, unfortunately, died. The second point of interest was the monastery of Monte Casino. This place is not only endowed with spiritual values but also includes one of the fiercest battles of the II World War. Our students gave respect to fallen Polish soldiers who, at the end of the battle, took the strategic monastery.

On 15 June, Track 2 –Italy – visited Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI HQ in Rome. The course participants were welcomed by Deputy Commander RADM Jean J. De Muizon and received briefings from branch heads of the HQ on the ongoing efforts to enforce an arms embargo and enhance the security situation in the Mediterranean Sea. After the briefings, the students had an opportunity to visit the Maritime Operation Center, which is the central hub of information flow and creator of tactical databases.

Next stop for the group was at the Centre for Higher Defence Studies (CASD). Our delegation was hosted by Director of Higher Education and Research Division (DiAFR) RADM Gaetano Virgilio. We received valuable insights into Italian military education system as well as a comprehensive outlook on Italian national defence structure; CJO mission, structure, roles, and responsibilities with focus on homeland defence, Euro-Atlantic Euro-Mediterranean area as well as contribution to the development of peace and international security and specific tasks to national emergencies response.

While Track 1 was fully engaged in business on the day, then Track 2, on the other hand, had a more relaxing day, enjoying the splendid breathtaking nature of Belgium while doing an historical case study at Fort Eben-Emael which is considered as an example of modern special operations.

With the completion of the International Study Trip the Joint Command and General Staff Course has almost come to an end - the Graduation to take place on 21 June.


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