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Updated: 06-Dec-2000 NATO Review

Web edition
Vol. 47 - No. 3
Autumn 1999
p. 31-32

PfP Training Centres: Improving training
and education in Partnership for Peace

Burak Akçapar
of NATO's Defence Planning and Operations Division

Deepening cooperation within Partnership for Peace (PfP) to encompass more operational elements is increasing the demand for qualified human resources. At the same time, according to Dr. Akçapar, we must face the challenges posed by multinationality at lower levels of command and force structures and the requirements for greater interoperability between Partner and NATO forces. For these reasons, Allied leaders launched the Training and Education Enhancement Programme at the Washington Summit last April - a structured approach to improving and harmonising NATO and Partner training and education activities, particularly through the establishment of PfP Training Centres.

The principal aim of the Training and Education Enhancement Programme (TEEP)(1), which was endorsed by Allied Heads of State and Government at the Washington Summit last April, is to increase the capacity of training and education efforts to meet the current and future demands of the enhanced and more operational Partnership. The TEEP seeks to optimise, harmonise and increase the transparency of NATO and national PfP training and education activities, and increase their contribution to the Partnership for Peace cooperation process.

The Concept for PfP Training Centres


General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (centre), goes back to school at the Regional Training Centre, Romania, in Summer 1998, along with Major General Gheorghe Rotaru and Chief of General Staff Constantin Degeratu of Romania.
(RTC photo - 41Kb)

Both Allies and Partners need to concentrate energy and resources, while collecting and sharing lessons learned, and establishing best practice. The TEEP highlighted that one way of achieving this is through setting up PfP Training Centres to offer high-quality training and education activities to all Allies and Partners.

A promising start has been made already through the Concept for PfP Training Centres, which was approved by the North Atlantic Council on 16 November 1998. It set the ground rules for associating national institutions with the NATO-PfP framework, introducing a uniquely collaborative approach to the essential investment in human resources needed to support the Enhanced and More Operational Partnership (2) launched at the Washington Summit. Through this Concept, Allies and Partners took a significant step towards fostering a greater role for national training facilities within the Partnership.

The Concept underlines the growing importance of education and training in enhanced PfP, and underscores the potential role that the PfP Training Centres can play in the common endeavour to improve training and education, promote regional cooperation and contribute to interoperability.

Any national training facility seeking to be designated as a "PfP Training Centre" needs to satisfy the basic principles set out in the Concept. Each application is forwarded by the host country and subjected to careful screening by a NATO Team - made up of members of the International Staff, the International Military Staff and Major NATO Commands - before official recognition is granted by a Council decision.

To date, six high quality national training establishments have been designated PfP Training Centres by the Council, several of them with a well-established track record and international reputation. These centres are already demonstrating what the designation "PfP Training Centre" stands for: quality, transparency and collaboration. Indeed, one of the main reasons for a training establishment to apply for the official PfP designation is to be recognised as being part of a family of prestigious training establishments.

Designated PfP Training Centres

The foundation for the emerging network of PfP Training Centres was laid at the inauguration of the centre in Ankara in 1998. This centre provides quality training and education support to Partner nations and assists Partners in reaching the interoperability levels required for participation in NATO-led PfP operations and exercises. It offers operational and strategic level courses, while also coordinating and steering the tactical-technical level courses of other Turkish military schools. The centre offers the full benefits of training in an Allied country, covering nearly the entire range of Interoperability Objectives established by NATO for Partner armed forces.

The PfP Training Centres already designated in Partner countries are described below:

  • Yavoriv Training Centre, Ukraine: This was the first Partner facility to be recognised as a PfP Training Centre, and has a long track record of PfP and similar exercises.
  • Almnas PfP Training Centre, Sweden: With excellent facilities and accommodation for 80 participants, this centre aims to enhance PfP cooperation generally, as well as more specifically promoting PfP cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. Activities include simulations, PfP planning, pre-mission and PfP exercise training, staff officers courses and language training, and other courses and seminars. An outdoor training area offers possibilities for unit training and smaller field exercises. The Swedish Centre participated in the PfP Simulation Network demonstration conducted on the margins of the Washington Summit.
  • Bucharest PfP Training Centre, Romania: Established in 1997 to conduct joint training activities and promote a better understanding of common NATO/PfP related issues, this centre offers "army brigade", "joint service", "peace support operations" and other courses in English. Training activities are conducted with guidance from an Allied nation in accordance with NATO standards, offering a good example of bilateral cooperation between Allies and Partners in establishing high-quality national training facilities.
  • Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), Switzerland: This international foundation with NATO/PfP members was created within the framework of Swiss participation in PfP. Its core missions are training, research and conferences for diplomats, military officers and civil servants from the foreign and defence ministries of NATO/PfP countries. It also promotes cooperative networking with all NATO/PfP countries, institutions and experts working in international security policy.
  • It runs a nine-month International Training Course (ITC) and a three-month course on European Security Policy, which include classes in the fields of international security policy, preventive diplomacy and arms control. The GCSP also contributes to the Consortium of Defence Academies and Security Policy Institutes in PfP member countries in collaboration with the US-German Marshall Center and the NATO Defense College (3) in Rome.

  • Austrian International Peace Support Command: Successor to the former Austrian Training Centre for Peacekeeping, with extensive experience in peacekeeping and well-established facilities, this centre specialises in training civil and military personnel and units for peace-support operations.

Pioneering the way

Less than a year into its implementation, thanks to the Concept for PfP Training Centres, there is already a network of institutions pioneering the way for the emergence of a larger and wider family. These centres familiarise participants with NATO's command, staff, operational and logistic procedures, and the procedures required in multinational and joint operations. This supports the development of interoperability between NATO and Partner forces for NATO-led PfP operations, and helps enhance the operational character of PfP. The centres also offer significant potential for cutting costs by conducting training and education locally.

A great start has been made on the work to develop the Training and Education Enhancement Programme mandated by the Washington Summit and to raise the level of highly qualified human resources essential for the increasingly operational Partnership.

Footnotes:

  1. See "Report by the Political Military Steering Committee on PfP", Appendix E.
  2. See Charles J. Dale, "Towards a Partnership for the twenty-first century", in NATO Review, No. 2, Summer 1999, pp. 29-32
  3. See also preceding article on "A new College for a new NATO".