5 Dec. 2006
The George C. Marshall Centre and the Alliance
with Lieutenant Colonel Alexandr Svidchenko, Kazakh Armed Forces, Participant in Program in Advanced Security Studies,
Major General (Retired) Dr. Horst Schmalfeld, German Deputy Director of the Marshall Center and Professor Fritz Rademacher, Professor of International Security Studies.
INTERVIEWER: Professor Rademacher, you are a professor at the George C. Marshall Center. Would you like to introduce your colleagues?
PROFESSOR FRITZ RADEMACHER (Professor of International Security Studies, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies): Thank you very much first for having us. Let me introduce first the Deputy Director of the Marshall Center, General Schmalfeld; and let also introduce one of the participants of our program on Advanced Security Studies, Lieutenant Colonel Alexandr Svidchenko from Kazakhstan.
INTERVIEWER: General Schmalfeld, can you give us a brief overview of the George C. Marshall Center?
DR. HORST SCHMALFELD (Major General, Retired, and Deputy Director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies): The George C. Marshall Center is a very unique institution because it's a binational government institution. It was founded in '93 by the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany; to become more specific, by the Department of Defence and by the Minister of Defence. And the idea was what should it develop? Why was it founded? With the breakdown of the Soviet Union there was an issue: what should we do now with some former nations of the Soviet Union because they are now becoming our neighbours in the east? And therefore we had this idea on a binational institution to found this Marshall Center.
It carries the name of George C. Marshall in its label, referring not only to the Marshall Plan, but also referring to George C. Marshall who had the Peace Nobel Prize of '93 because of peace through negotiation. Peace through negotiation is one of the major aims of the George C. Marshall Center.
INTERVIEWER: What is the George C. Marshall Center trying to achieve in its activities?
SCHMALFELD: The mission or the aims and objectives of the George C. Marshall Center is to create a more stable security environment by advancing democratic institutions and relationships, promotion activities, peaceful security co-operation and enhancing enduring partnership among the nations of North America, Eurasia and beyond.
INTERVIEWER: How does the Center work and who are the major players?
SCHMALFELD: In essence we are working on four pillars. We have a university-like institution down at Garmisch-Partenkirchen : the George C. Marshall Center which establishes principles on four pillars. We have resident courses down in the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We have conferences we either run at the Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen or we go to the nations or the regions interested in certain aspects. We have graduate support of our alumni of the Marshall Center. So we help them to form associations in their countries being alumni of the Marshall Center and to promote the idea on peace through negotiation. And last but not least, we are forming a virtual network via the Internet.
INTERVIEWER: Professor Rademacher, you are at NATO Headquarters as part of a training course. Can you tell us more about the program being run?
RADEMACHER: Gladly. We are here with our program on Advanced Security Studies, a program that we are running three times a year. This time around we are more than 150 participants from more than 35 countries and we have been visiting the European Union yesterday and today we are listening to senior NATO officials who tell us about the recent Riga Summit.
INTERVIEWER: What kind of other programs is the George C. Marshall Center running?
RADEMACHER: In addition to the program on Advanced Security Studies, we have a program for senior executives - that means officials at Ambassadorial level or General Officers - and we are organizing twice a year week-long conferences on topics of particular interest. In addition, we have a program running in the area of the fight against terrorism, where again we try to bring together practitioners in this important area to compare notes and to discuss how we can deal with the scourge.
INTERVIEWER: And where are these activities taking place?
RADEMACHER: We have actually world class facilities in the southern part of Germany in Garmisch-Partenkirchen where there George C. Marshall Center is situated and where we are holding our resident programs. As General Schmalfeld mentioned, we are running resident and non-resident programs; but we have all the facilities to accommodate our participants and to run the courses with them.
But I should like to mention that we are also offering a whole series of conferences each year (about 20 per year) that are being held both at the Marshall Center itself, but also abroad in Germany and in the countries... our customer countries.
INTERVIEWER: What are the strengths of the in-house and non-resident programs?
RADEMACHER: I think part of the Marshall Center experience is indeed the combination of the location, the infrastructure we have available and the fact that we have, especially in the program on Advanced Security Studies, we have the participants for a 12-week stretch where they work and live together; where they have an opportunity not only to advance their professional and academic interests, but to interact 24/7 with people from so many other nations.
And let me give you an example. In my course I'm in now that I'm running as part of this current program I had 14 students from 14 countries; four of them from the Balkans. I had a lady from Croatia; I had a lady from Serbia; I had a military officer from Bosnia-Herzegovina; and I had a police officer from Kosovo.
While you can imagine that at the beginning the interaction was limited, now that we are 10 weeks into the program, the people not only talk to each other, but they do many things with each other and I can tell you that this will last far beyond the course that we are running today. And this is in fact one of the most important objectives we are pursuing with our program, namely to create networks. And we know from experience that people do continue to interact with each other long after the course has ended. That is why we are also trying to actively contribute to this process by having the alumni program both at the Marshall Center in Garmisch, but also out there in the countries themselves.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you. Lieutenant Colonel Svidchenko, as a program participant can you tell us briefly what you've gained from your involvement with the George C. Marshall Center and NATO?
LIEUTENANT COLONEL ALEXANDR SVIDCHENKO (Kazakh Armed Forces and Advanced Security Studies Program Participant): (Translation) Well I came to understand during this course that we are living in a small world. And during this course I also came to understand that this is something that helps us to get together, to get united and to make this world of ours more secure.
INTERVIEWER: Lieutenant Colonel Svidchenko how did you and your colleagues hear about the programs on offer?
SVIDCHENKO: (Translation) I should mention that Kazakhstan is an active participant in the Partnership for Peace Program and we recently signed our IPAP and we understand that NATO is not just a military-political organization, it also deals with scientific projects and our country is very much involved in these programs. So I'm very thankful for being able to attend this program here.
INTERVIEWER: General Schmalfeld, the George C. Marshall Center has been involved with NATO over the years. Can you describe this involvement?
SCHMALFELD: Let me stress again that the George C. Marshall Center is a binational institution, a government institution run by United States of America and Germany. And in that context we have at least two members belonging to NATO, United States and Germany, and you have one member belonging also to the EU. So we have now developed relationships with NATO on the one side, but also with the EU on the other side.
As far as NATO is concerned, we have a formal link with NATO because at the Marshall Center we also have the Secretariat of the PFP Consortium. The PFP Consortium was noted in the summit... in the Washington Summit in '99 by all the heads of states. It's addressing in principle right now about 350 universities dealing with security policy. So to say in our area of interest, it means to the east of Europe.
This Consortium brings also together some kind of experience in security policy, developing and promoting peace and stability. So therefore we have a formal link. So we are part of the PFP and we’re running right now in the same context (inaudible) for reform, the same business you could say at the Marshall Center, either in electives or in our programs or in conferences. That's one aspect.
We have also a lot of informal relationships with NATO. For example, we co-operate with the NATO school in Oberammergau. We are exchanging instructors. Or we are co-operating with the NATO Defense College in Rome. So we have a conference of all the Deans of these institutions coming together. So we have also these informal relationships.
But I would also like to stress and my colleague Dr. Rademacher mentioned this already, we have been to the European Union yesterday because of the simple reason that one of the stakeholders belongs to the European Union - that's Germany. Of course this is one part of the so-called network we are so famous about. But we think that just this partnership only with NATO and only with EU might be not sufficient in the end, so we have to establish... expand our relationship to other agencies and we are doing this.
For example, we are forming now links to other universities, even civilian universities, also addressing the same issues like security policy. So we are not limited just to NATO or to the EU. We can also expand in this direction.
INTERVIEWER: Is there scope to further strengthen the interaction between the George C. Marshall Center and NATO?
SCHMALFELD: If there is one aspect which is really a lasting one and really could provide some kind of a monument the Marshall Center established, that's the network. Let me give you as example we have now about 4,000 alumni of the Marshall Center since its foundation and they really form a strong network still. We reach at least three quarters of these 4,000 still today via our virtual network - that's the Internet. And this can really provide a basis and the platform also for NATO or others interested how to realize some kind of democracy building in the regions we are talking about in Eurasia.
I think there will also become some kind of a global dimension of the Marshall Center. Right now we are concentrated to the EAPC nations in the east. But we would also like to invite NATO member states to participate in programs, in the conferences or resident courses in the Marshall Center.or EU member states. Unfortunately they have to pay for this; this means the government has to pay for them to provide this TDY, but it would be an excellent opportunity for them to become part of this globalize network I've addressed before.
So if you become an attaché in the Eurasian area, if you participate in the Marshall Center courses a NATO member state, you are immediately in this network if you then be employed by NATO as an attaché to that area. It's a marvellous advantage you have.
INTERVIEWER: Is there scope to further strengthen the interaction between the George C. Marshall Center and NATO, as well as other organizations?
SCHMALFELD: We have now established this formal link I mentioned before with the PFP Consortium. I think there is one aspect I would become very specific about. We would like to have more attendance by NATO members or EU members to provide participants on activities of the Marshall Center, because by that they become immediately part of the network. So this should be one opportunity taken also by member states to participate in events of Marshall Center, not only those we are addressing in the EAPC context.
And the other point is of course we are trying to expand our areas of activities. So far we have been concentrating on the EAPC countries and to the east of that - Mongolia and Afghanistan. We are also expanding now a little bit to the Mediterranean area. So we are now having a new emphasis in the south of NATO, so to say emphasizing the ideas of the Mediterranean Dialogue and ICI as it was decided in the Istanbul Summit. This has to do of course with countering terrorism, but it has also to do with providing some kind of democracy building in this area.
And the last aspect I would like to mention: we are more and more embarking on Parliamentarians, not only by the SES (?) we have mentioned before, but we run special courses for Parliamentarians in the Marshall Center. We had the Albanian delegation with us recently. We have an invitation extended to Afghanistan to send new Parliamentarians so to say to the Marshall Center to become familiar with all aspects of security policy and we will extend that regionally or nationally step by step.
INTERVIEWER: Professor Rademacher, where can people go for more information on the George C. Marshall Center?
RADEMACHER: Yes, we are running a website (that would be www.marshallcenter.org) where a lot of information can be found, but our press and media department is obviously also willing to respond to any queries interested parties might have.