The NATO Command and Control Centre of Excellence (NATO C2COE) hosted visitors from the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) on Friday, 13 May 2016. The aim was to contribute to the Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC), a core activity of the BALTDEFCOL. The visit was organized under the Joint Combined Operations’ Learning Area of JCGSC. This Learning Area focusses on Mission Command and Leadership, and especially emphasizes Command and Control (C2). 21 students and staff from the College, representing 10 different NATO (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland) and Partner nations (Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Serbia, Sweden, and Ukraine), attended the event. The delegation was led by Colonel Dr. Miroslaw Smolarek (POL).
The BALTDEFCOL is an international military educational institution, where several nations conduct professional education of their military officers and civil servants. Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras (LTU A), the Commandant of the BALTDEFCOL, proposed the visit in a letter to the Director of the C2COE, Dutch Navy Captain Gerrit Nijenhuis. The College is located in Tartu, Estonia, and has a historic connection to the Netherlands because the third-largest room on the campus is named after the famous Dutch Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. This honour signifies the exceptional support provided by the Netherlands to the Baltic Defence College, as well as the continuous Dutch interest in security in the wider Baltic region.
The Director of NATO C2COE welcomed the delegation and provided the BALTDEFCOL delegation with an overview on NATO Centres of Excellences in general and a more specific introduction on the NATO C2COE. Additionally, two presentations were provided to the group. The first presentation consisted of a team of four officers who presented a future view of Command and Control. The team was led by Commander Tom Zachariassen (NOR N). The second presentation, given by Major Ron Werkman (NLD AF) and Major Twan Verbaten (NLD A), introduced NATO’s current operational challenges and presented conclusions from different NATO exercises.
The visit allowed members of the BALTDEFCOL and the NATO C2COE to exchange different views on C2 and was beneficial for both organizations. The BALTDEFCOL students were very pleased for this opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Centre. The presentations provided them with a better understanding of the challenges in the area of C2. As the delegation lead, Colonel Dr. Smolarek noted, it helped the students to better understand C2 questions, which did arise earlier during their course.