The Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR) hosted its bi-annual Executive Program in Defense Decision Making for senior international military and government defense officials, Nov. 6-17. The course brought 21 military officers and their civilian counterparts from 16 different nations to campus, covering topics related to security and defense decision-making in the contemporary global environment.
“The advantage of the students coming here to NPS is that it gives them access to a wide range of subject-matter experts across campus,” said Scott Jasper, International Defense Transformation program manager for CCMR. “The academic views and insight that our faculty provide, as well as practical frameworks, help facilitate the conversation on different challenges that could come up from a wide range of things from cyber, to economics, or anything else that could arise.
“Additionally, you have the students sharing their experience and expertise in their regions and operations. This could include not only historical [expertise] from their own study of challenges, but also more current issues based on operations and events in the area,” Jasper continued.
“This has been a great way to learn new points of view on different concepts and different ways to approach them,” noted Argentina Air Force Lt. Col. Christian Haller. “What makes this course so beneficial for us is it gives access to so many new tools and ideas to tackle complex problems. And to be able to interact with colleagues from other countries has been a great way to share knowledge on how they tackle things.”
Since 1994, CCMR has conducted the two-week, Expanded International Military Education and Training (EIMET) course 25 times, now offering it every May and October n campus, with the intention of giving participants the opportunity to meet and work with leaders from around the world on issues of defense transformation and decision-making common to democratic nations. The program was recently revamped, Jasper says, to ensure coursework is relevant and current.
The program is broken up into two sections, with the first week concentrated on strategy on counter security challenges, and the second covering operational design and the development of capabilities to counter adversary tactics. Ultimately, participants bring a diverse tool box of perspectives and decision making procedures to their home country’s armed forces.
“The security environment is constantly changing and we have to adapt to it. It is important that the participants understand the depths of these issues, so we can provide proven methods that they can apply to those challenges,” explained Jasper. “The way this course does that is that it helps participants better prepare their governments and own forces to deal with the regional issues they face.
“The direct outcome is that these members, who are in senior-level leadership positions, are only going to get better,” Jasper continued. “They may come here as a brigadier general and continue to be promoted in their armed forces with the knowledge of this course.”