Statement on the NATO Defense College’s 60th Anniversary
by the Chairman of the Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola
Rome, 20 May 2011 - I would like to commend the NATO Defense College (NDC) for 60 years of outstanding service as the foremost centre for education and forum for intellectual sharing for generations of the Alliance’s leadership.
The work done by this college has not only been remarkable but, in many ways, critical to Alliance success. And this has been confirmed during the last three years of excellent leadership by Lieutenant General Wolf-Dieter Loeser.
The first and most notable added value of this academy is that it is one-of-a-kind, mingling military and non-military cultures, of intellectual confrontation and of mutual understanding, representing the basis of, and complementing the political and military aspects of our Alliance. If I have to summarize the three main important key functions of this institution, I would say: educating people, military and civilian, involved in strategic issues; opening doors and minds to others – what we call outreach; and shaping our future through in-depth research.
The Alliance not only needs intelligent leaders, commanders, and decision makers, but nimble and versatile minds. The NDC is a first-class institution where Alliance leaders, throughout their careers, can train to manage unfamiliar and often unprecedented situations, confronting each other with a truly multinational approach.
The Strategic Concept has defined the requirements for the Alliance to adapt to an ever changing security scenario that needs an agile approach and adaptable mindsets. The NDC has to play its part in this continuous process of transformation of the Alliance, by providing the forum for sharing experience within NATO and with Partner Nations, by conducting research, elaborating scenarios, raising questions and proposing possible solutions, thereby assisting the Alliance in counter-acting new security challenges in cutting-edge areas, such as cyber defence and energy security.
In celebrating this event, we should not look back. Instead it’s time to decisively and proactively look to the future, taking advantage of the invaluable support that the NDC can provide, and building on the extensive experience gained so far as the Alliance’s leading academic centre.