Autor: FüAkBw; Fotos: Bundeswehr
State-of-the-art training rooms: Jeff LaMoe, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, is giving Rear Admiral Stawitzki a tour of the Lewis & Clark Center in Fort Leavenworth
Symbol of a long-standing affiliation between two countries: A statue of Frederick the Great in the Carlisle Barracks, seat of the Army War College
Transatlantic friendship: In the German Army liaison staff conference room in Leavenworth, Rear Adm. Stawitzki receives a gift from Maj. Gen. Kem—a chronicle of the Leavenworth military installation
Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, Commandant of the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, pays inaugural visit to US partner institutions
All of a sudden, Germany seems to be much closer than the long flight across the Atlantic would suggest: In the Lewis & Clark Center in Fort Leavenworth, Rear Adm. Carsten Stawitzki, Commandant of the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College (BwCSC), "runs into" his superior, the acting Chief of the Defence Staff, General Volker Wieker.
The general's picture hangs on the Wall of Fame of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), right next to the portrait of Lt. General Jörg Vollmer, Chief of the German Army. Both of them completed the Command and General Staff Officers Course of the US Army in Fort Leavenworth after having studied at the BwCSC—as did numerous high-ranking military decision-makers from all over the world and 27 heads of government, four of whom are still in office. The CGSC is one of the top institutions in the field of professional military education and for more than 50 years has been a cooperation partner for the BwCSC. Reason enough for Rear Adm. Stawitzki to take advantage of the first week of college holidays to pay an overseas visit: "During the busy months that followed the German Minister of Defense's presentation of her vision for the future of our Command and Staff College on 3 November, we set the course for the upcoming development of the BwCSC. Now I think it's important to demonstrate our commitment to our partners abroad." Rear Adm. Stawitzki's schedule for his visit to Fort Leavenworth included a conversation with Maj. Gen. John S. Kem, Provost of the Army University and Deputy Commandant of the CGSC, a meeting with teaching staff and representatives of the Army University Press and, of course, talks with German CGSC students and permanent personnel.
A busy schedule indeed. And that goes for the rest of the week, too: Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, was actually the fourth stop on his trip to the United States. During the three days before, the Commandant of the BwCSC had already visited the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington D.C., the Army War College in Carlisle, and the Naval War College in Newport where met with his respective counterparts. Leaving Leavenworth, he then moved on to the USAF's Air University in Montgomery, Alabama. Rear Adm. Stawitzki summarizes: "In many respects, the education and training of top-level military personnel in the U.S. is different from what we do at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College. In other areas, however, we have a lot in common. I particularly wanted to gain a comprehensive impression of how our partner across the Atlantic prepares the members of its military leadership elite for their challenging future responsibilities. This is why I wanted to visit the training institutions of all services." Against the backdrop of the minister's assignment to further develop the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College into a strategic think tank, Admiral Stawitzki's main focus was on the question of how the U.S. military trains strategists and how it contributes to the country's strategic capabilities by means of research projects and scientific publications. "I am learning a great deal with regard to the areas of strategic capability and networking with many different experts, and also in terms of methods, such as war gaming at the highest level." What initially had been planned as a series of inaugural visits to the US partner institutions by Adm. Stawitzki now—in view of the ongoing further development of the Command and Staff College—turned out to be an inspiring exchange of ideas for the Commandant who was appointed only in September 2016. "Of course we cannot simply copy models that work well in the U.S. and transfer them directly to our institution. This notwithstanding, the NDU and the war colleges have excellent programs in place. I thoroughly enjoyed the open exchange of ideas that took place at the command level as well as in my conversations with faculty personnel. Talking to German students at all five institutions completed the picture for me. One thing is obvious: We can learn a great deal from one another. And my trip confirmed what is most important to me: Our transatlantic partnership and the ties that bind us together 'across the pond' remain as strong as ever."
After six days in the U.S., Rear Adm. Stawitzki is now back in Hamburg. Most of the college staff are away on their well-deserved summer holiday. The Commandant and his team, however, are already starting to plan the next official visit: In the fourth quarter of 2017, the Commandant intends to visit the defense academies of the partners involved in the Combined Joint European Exercise.
Autor: Frank Magnus ; Fotos: Katharina Junge
Guest lectures can be fun to listen to
Shaping the future together—student engaged in a discussion with the Chief of the Army
General Vollmer reporting on current developments in the German Armyr
Lieutenant General Jörg Vollmer, Chief of the German Army, regularly visits "his" Army soldiers at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College and enjoys very much to do so. During his latest visit, he was particularly interested in obtaining information about the further development of the Command and Staff College as directed by the Minister of Defense, Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, in her guiding speech on 3 November 2016 (click here for a transcript of the minister's speech)). Lt. General Vollmer especially wanted to gain insight into the current developments regarding the establishment of a think tank, competence-oriented education and the revision of the course concepts. Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, Commandant of the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, had an extensive conversation with the Chief of the Army, during which he covered all developments that took place during the past months as well as those planned for the near future.
In cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute, the Army Branch has developed an innovative tool: the Digital Map Table. It enables soldiers to conduct operational planning in a multidimensional approach on a digital map that is equipped with a vast quantity of information. Operators can retrieve all the data available in the Bundeswehr and use them to arrive at a comprehensive assessment of the situation. "The map table provides us with unprecedented possibilities to process and assemble information in a very compact manner. I am thrilled and delighted that this tool is being used here at the highest-level training institution of the Bundeswehr," Vollmer summarized his impressions.
General Vollmer concluded the busy program of his day at the Command and Staff College by giving a presentation on the current situation of the German Army. He explained: "All things considered, the security situation has deteriorated. The Army's tasks include the entire range of both ongoing operations—from Afghanistan to Africa—and standby commitments such as those in the Baltic region." According to the Chief of the Army, national and alliance defense and stabilization operations must be accorded equal importance and performed at the same time. As a result, this means that our personnel must be perfectly trained at all levels, not only in a variety of different operations, but also down to the last detail involved in their tasks. Moreover, our soldiers must be supplied with sufficient and mission-ready equipment. Vollmer left no doubt about the fact that this is a Herculean task, yet also emphasized that the trend reversals initiated by the Federal Ministry of Defense have already created some leeway for the Army.
Trend reversals have been launched in the areas of personnel, equipment and financing. In this context, the increasing multinationalization offers additional courses of action. With his closing remarks, General Vollmer proved that he has the necessary enthusiasm to tackle all the aforementioned challenges: "I take great pleasure in doing my job. However, I can't do it all by myself; I need your help and support. So, please get involved and contribute your ideas so that together we may shape the future of the German Army."
Autor: Inka von Puttkamer ; Fotos: Katharina Junge
General Wieker: "Security has its cost''"
Admiral Carsten Stawitzki during his opening remarks
Two high-ranking officers ready for action
General Volker Wieker, Chief of the German Defense Staff, had come to the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College to hold a lecture to Germany's future general/admiral staff officers and to exchange views and have personal talks with them. Speaking in front of the participants of the Field Officer Basic Course (FOBC) and the "Fundamentals of Operational Command and Control and Planning" Seminar, the German Armed Forces' highest-ranking soldier encouraged the officers to be "frank and open". Over the years, his annual visits to the FOBC have become a good tradition and although it is a "challenge to reach everyone in the Bundeswehr with the messages we consider so important", he enjoys these visits very much.
In these eventful times, General Wieker places particular importance on personal talks. And the young officers, who have just embarked upon their path as career personnel, take him at his word. They ask questions that are personal, controversial and provocative and deal with everything currently discussed in the Bundeswehr: the high level of operational stress, current discussions in the media about the troops, questions regarding issues such as personnel, materiel and budget but also questions about internal communication and procurement projects.
General Wieker answers candidly, and he encounters great open-mindedness and honesty on the side of the students—for instance from a company commander from Donauwörth who shares her personal experiences with him and the other students. This requires trust, and indeed, there is trust on both sides. The general's answers clearly show how he defines his role as a mediator between the soldiers and the political leadership at the Federal Ministry of Defense. "Our common aim is always in the foreground", the general says.
He underlines the positive developments of the last legislative period and in this context mentions not only the significant budget increase and the raise in the number of personnel but also effective advertisement measures and Germany's participation in the set-up of NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. This leads him on to the security situation Germany is facing currently. "Security has its cost", he explains and after listing a variety of examples reaching from the Crimea Crisis to the stationing of NATO troops in the Baltic states, he explains that Germany is considered a reliable and responsible partner in Europe. The international community has expectations with regard to Germany as a middle power. National and alliance defense have come into focus again, General Wieker explains and also points to the presentation of the results of the National General/Admiral Staff Officer Course on the topic "Defining National and Alliance Defense Anew".
At the end, the students ask the general what central message they should take home from the FOBC. With a view to the course's new format which is competence-oriented training without a final examination, his answer is that the restructured course is aimed at taking advantage of the overall personality of each student and at unfolding his or her talents (click here for more information on competence-oriented training). There is no doubt that there is currently a great need for talks between all hierarchic levels of the Bundeswehr. According to General Wieker, it "takes time for the new developments to take effect" and he stresses that "all personnel working in the Bundeswehr must travel this road together to be successful." Despite his very busy schedule, the topic of communication is on top of his priority list. He states: "I'd rather stick to speaking with each other than talk about each other." Given this motto, the next FOBC can also look forward to hearing honest and unfiltered words of its highest-ranking superior in the late summer months.
Author: Christiane Rodenbücher; Photos: Katharina Junge
Hamburg, 09 June 2017
Brigadier General Thomas Hambach during his farewell speech
Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Carsten Stawitzki with Brigadier General Hambach, outgoing Director of Academic Programs, and Jörn Thießen, his interim successor
Musicians from the Naval Band Kiel provided an adequate musical setting
Brigadier General Hambach and his wife during the reception
Invited guests in the rotunda during the farewell ceremony
Jörn Thießen, interim Director of Academic Programs
"Demanding and challenging"— this is how Brigadier General Thomas Hambach describes the past years. Three years ago, he was assigned the position of Director of Academic Programs at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College. "To be allowed to think about what we should teach our future field-grade officers and general/admiral staff officers given the fact that we cannot foresee future developments and to think about how we can teach all this in the best possible way"—for General Hambach, this has always been a very enriching experience. He is sad to leave Hamburg but he is also looking forward to his new assignment as Deputy Commander, Bundeswehr Logistics Command in Erfurt. For the time being, the acting Director of Academic Programs is Jörn Thießen, Head of the Political and Social Sciences Department.
During a solemn ceremony, the Commandant of the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, thanked General Hambach for his great commitment and meaningful contributions to the training institution emphasizing his personal and sensitive approach to all subject matters. With high-ranking guest from politics, the economy and the society but also from different fields of the armed forces, altogether 150 people participated in the farewell ceremony.
In his speech, the general quoted Confucius to express the pleasure he felt every day of his assignment at the college: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." He emphasized that he felt this pleasure only because of the professional support from all soldiers and staff members thanking them with the words: "I wasn't given the choice but it is essentially thanks to you all that I felt so much pleasure and gratitude in serving at this college."
Aside from imparting pure theory and practice, General Hambach always considered it important to create an added value for the students during their training and education at the BwCSC. In our modern, often very challenging and volatile time, it has been his major concern to share his personal experiences with his students so that our leaders of tomorrow are well prepared for the future.
Using the three words "ability", "willingness" and "permission," he made clear what kind of added value the training and education at the BwCSC is to create for the students: "Ability" stands for the military leaders' capability to act in any given situation. "Willingness" stands for the leaders' willingness to act and for their will to constantly develop their personality. The aspect of "permission" complements the other two aspects: Only if we manage to constantly provide an adequate framework here at the college, our officers can put their personal understanding of command and control to the test.
Within the scope of training and education, committing errors is quite a natural thing, General Hambach explained adding that the BwCSC is "the perfect place for such an experience." With this principle, the general complemented his description of the BwCSC's training objective to the shaping of which he contributed so much during his assignment as Director of Academic Programs. He also touched an aspect that still is of great importance to him and that from his point of view, puts the demands made particularly on general/admiral staff officers in a nutshell: How can we convey leadership skills that represent our unique concept of Leadership Development and Civic Education, in German known as "Innere Führung"?
"To express one's own intent in such a fashion that there is still leeway for the necessary creativity and imagination" is a challenge General Hambach has known very well and he has always strived to convey this aspect to the students at the BwCSC. "Delegating responsibility but also taking on responsibility. Trusting others but also earning the trust of others. Both aspects represent two sides of the same coin." During his speech, the general did not only look back to the past but also focused on the current tasks and challenges the college is facing. In this context, he mentioned particularly challenging and volatile conditions and reminded the audience of the fact that change always takes time.
"Carrying out the assignment as Director of Academic Programs was sometimes more and sometimes less easy. Leaving the job, however, is quite hard for me," the general explained. "[T]hat I enjoyed my time at the college as I did is essentially due to the staff of the college, the heads of department, the lecturers and the many reservists. I am very grateful for how I was received at this college and for the openness and particularly for the trust, criticism and advice I was given and for everyone's commitment and abundance of ideas.“
In his words to General Hambach, Admiral Stawitzki pointed out that during the general's time at the BwCSC, 200,000 classes were given by 100 lecturers and more than 500 guest lecturers to soldiers from more than 100 nations. The admiral continued: "Let me express my sincere gratitude for your work and commitment and for the fact that you have carried out this challenging assignment with all your heart and mind and with a great deal of sensitivity." The commandant appreciated the general's "set of skills and tools," his elaborate methods, his critical stance and his constructive cooperation. "You have initiated and promoted all this—thank you very much for your efforts." Musicians from the Naval Band Kiel headed by Commander Szepanski provided a worthy setting for the farewell ceremony. They played pieces in minor and major keys emphasizing both the melancholy aspects of saying farewell and the cheerful moments of the past years but also reflecting the joyful anticipation of the new assignment.
Author: Jürgen Bredtmann ; Photos: Michael Gundelach/Laura Clayborn
Hamburg, 31 May 2017
Music band "Cause of Action"
Dr. Maren Tomforde organized the project
Confident of the strengths and talents of "his" men and women: Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Carsten Stawitzki
Photographer Katharina Junge developed the concept for the exhibition and photos
Active involvement of the audience in the improv play
Dr. Petra Köppel "open our minds to unfamiliar things"
Questionnaires for self-evaluation
The photos will be shown as a touring exhibition at other places, too.
Even the music was full of diversity. Playing unplugged with two guitars, one keyboard, one cajón and three vocalists, the band “Cause of Action” took the audience through a colorful Diversity Day at the BwCSC in Hamburg. The Bundeswehr has supported the Diversity Charter since 2012, and this time a photo exhibition was the central event.
"Through this photo exhibition we want to show the diversity of the personnel serving in Hamburg’s Bundeswehr agencies," said BwCSC's photographer Katharina Junge, explaining the concept behind the project "Diversity in Uniform". 70 military or civilian staff members from Hamburg's Bundeswehr agencies volunteered as models for this exhibition. They were portrayed in their uniforms or workwear and in their casual or hobby outfit with a third photo showing an object each person considers to be important in his or her life.
The photos are complemented by interviews concerning the person's private and professional identity— with quotations from these interviews supplementing the fascinating full body portraits. Who is actually the person behind this uniform or workwear? "In our busy daily working routine, we often perceive people in their official functions only. The individuals behind these functions and all their interests, abilities and all their potential often remain hidden," said Dr. Maren Tomforde, who works as a lecturer at the BwCSC and had taken the lead responsibility in organizing the Bundeswehr's Diversity Day in Hamburg.
The Commandant of the BwCSC, Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Carsten Stawitzki, had previously opened the central event of the day in the Gneisenau Hall of the Manfred Wörner Center at the Clausewitz Barracks. "If you look at my family name, you may recognize that my ancestors came from East Prussia. This is a fact that caused me quite some trouble when I was looking for an apartment in 1992," said the Commandant with a view to his manifold experience with prejudices. "Forming efficient teams that are able to solve tasks jointly and that sometimes need to be more homogenous and sometimes more heterogeneous—this is our leadership task, be it at the operating table, in a small combat group or during a meeting," the admiral continued. The working atmosphere was the essential aspect that decided whether a person stayed at a workplace or quit the job.
The BwCSC organized the fifth national Diversity Day in Hamburg in close cooperation with the city's other Bundeswehr agencies. From 9.30 a.m., about 250 representatives from the Bundeswehr hospital, the Helmut Schmidt University, the Land Command and the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College gathered at the Clausewitz Barack for a meeting. "With a view to the seven dimensions of diversity—ethnic background, nationality, sexual orientation, individual abilities, religion and world view, age, gender and social background—the diversity at these agencies is quite impressive. It brings many challenges but also numerous opportunities because we human beings are able to reflect over matters," the admiral said.
Keynote speaker Dr. Petra Köppel from consulting firm Synergy Consult pointed out how valuable diversity is for the Bundeswehr. "Diversity is not always visible. The first impression often causes us to make judgements about the whole person," she warned. Experience, values and attitudes are something you don't see at first sight. "Diversity can only bring to bear its advantages and contribute to more job satisfaction and better task management if there is mutual respect."
"Diversity is a management task and it starts at the top," the consultant said. She explained that in our complex world, it is absolutely necessary to have categories - but that these might distort things or lead us to be guided by patterns. It is therefore important to differentiate between describing and judging a person and therefore to question one's first impression and allow for criticism. "Aspects such as questioning oneself, changing one's patterns of thinking and leaving one's comfort zone are a prerequisite for dealing with uncertainty, for allowing for unfamiliar things and for being curious and able to change oneself," Dr. Köppel emphasized. It's all about using potential—the potential of all personnel.
In the afternoon, three workshops were conducted focusing on diversity management on an equal-opportunity basis as a leadership task, on diversity practice in the Bundeswehr and on related experiences and challenges with regard to the compatibility of family and service. Parallel to the workshops, the Kaleidoskop theater group from Hamburg Altona performed the improv play "Diversity" with active audience involvement. The actors asked the audience questions on diversity in general and then acted out the answers. The result was a lot of laughter from the audience: "We recognized ourselves pretty well in the play."
Good communication, clear requirements and the confidence to be allowed to open up oneself are essential prerequisites for the success of initiatives such as diversity-related panels and bodies, the diversity symposium, questionnaires for personnel, the academic postgraduate master program "Leading Diversity", the dialog of cultures or the one-week seminar on diversity and the 2018 Diversity Day.
At the end, the commandant summarized this most informative day very positively: "What impressed me most was the good atmosphere that prevailed during the entire day. The keynote speech held by Dr. Petra Köppel, the surprise performance of the BwCSC band, the workshops that provided so many valuable ideas and impulses and of course the photo exhibition. It was this mixture of events that made the whole day fabulous."
Author: Stefan Berger; Photos: Katharina Junge
Hamburg, 17 May 2017
Admiral Stawitzki welcoming Admiral Trojahn to the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College
Signing the College's guest book
Talks among admirals
Visit of Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Frank Trojahn, Chief of Naval Staff of the Royal Danish Navy to the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College
With officers from all over the world studying at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, the campus brims with colorful and varied uniforms. In an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding, personal contacts easily develop and networks are quickly established. It is no surprise then, when former students return to the college as visitors. One such visitor was welcomed at the BwCSC on 11 May 2017. Twenty years after the beginning of his two-year training on the 1997 National General/Admiral Staff Officer Course, former student Frank Trojahn—meanwhile a rear admiral (upper half)—returned to the college for a short visit.
After talks with the Commandant of the BwCSC, Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Carsten Stawitzki, and the Director of Academic Management, Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Karsten Schneider, Admiral Trojahn gladly seized the opportunity to take a walk through the Clausewitz Barracks. In the Navy Branch, the Admiral encountered a former fellow student of the 39th Admiral Staff Officer Course and both enjoyed their memories of the good old days. "Much of what I see today is new, but there are also several things that are still familiar to me. It feels like coming home. The new modern auditoriums and the Manfred Wörner Center are quite impressive. Most enjoyable, however, is the pleasant atmosphere on campus," Admiral Trojahn said in talks with the Head of the Navy Branch and Representative of the Chief of the German Navy at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, Captain Straus.
During his walk through the barrack, the Danish Chief of Naval Staff was accompanied by a Danish student from the 2015 National General/Admiral Staff Officer Course. Lieutenant Commander Nicolai Svane informed his superior in detail about his experiences with the college's current training approach, which today, not only focuses on military topics but also on social or economic issues.
"For Denmark, Germany is an important strategic partner in the region," said Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Trojahn at the end of his visit. "We will gladly continue our cooperation with this remarkable training institution and seize the training opportunities it offers.“ Indeed, another Danish naval field-grade officer will study on the next National General/Admiral Staff Officer Course. So maybe, he too, will visit the college as an admiral one day.
Auteur : Maximilian Voß; photos: Michael Gundelach, Laura Clayborn
Klicken Sie hier für den Mittschnitt des Interviews.
Today, the Commandant of the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr, Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, and the BWI IT regions manager, Dr. Adrian Overberg, signed a concept on the further development of the IT landscape at the Führungsakademie in Hamburg. This concept covers many aspects: First of all, it includes the results of a report on all IT systems currently used at the institution. Furthermore, it describes specific solutions tailored to the needs of the Führungsakademie and lays out the path towards possible adaptations of the BWI IT services. As Stawitzki puts it: "Now we are gathering at the starting line to embark on this journey together." The signing of the concept symbolizes the kick-off for the next stage of the project. Based on this document, the next step is to get down to detailed planning: How can our partners achieve their goals? How can they continue to adapt the capabilities required by the Führungsakademie to the challenges of the future?
During her visit to the Führungsakademie in November, the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen, stated: "I want the Führungsakademie to evolve further." She added: "Among other things, good teaching is a question of technology." For this reason, the Führungsakademie should be the avant-garde of the Bundeswehr in terms of digitalization, e-learning and correspondence courses. "And if there are any obstacles in terms of technical or structural infrastructure, well, they are there to be overcome," the Minister demanded. Even before that, the German Joint Support Service Headquarters had initiated a further development program for the IT landscape at the Führungsakademie, triggering the local IT team to prepare a concept for a sustainable solution.
At present, the Führungsakademie with its own individual IT landscape enjoys a special status among the German armed forces. Within the Bundeswehr, the institution is an "IT island" that is not yet fully serviced by the Bundeswehr Information Technology (BWI) network, the Bundeswehr's central IT service provider. Due to its special status as an international military teaching institution, the Führungsakademie so far has been operating an independent IT network. The entire IT equipment is managed by highly qualified IT personnel. These IT experts are also responsible for user support and for managing the IT services for the whole facility. In due course, additional IT services from the HERKULES project providing the entire office communication for the Bundeswehr are to be used at the Führungsakademie. To this end, in cooperation with the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support and with the BWI IT, the local IT experts have conducted a comprehensive inventory of the existing IT systems.
Moreover, with the Interoperable Cloud Computing (IOCC) study, the BWI has been tasked to evaluate the possibilities arising from cloud computing with regard to potential applications in the armed forces. IOCC would allow military and civilian employees to access and work with data and programs from any location. The further development of the IT landscape at the Führungsakademie provides a good opportunity to try out the use of cloud computing in this environment. This way, the Führungsakademie could become a cloud computing pioneer in the German armed forces and maybe also an example for other Bundeswehr agencies, able to provide them with advice and support in similar projects together with the BWI IT. Before that, however, the necessary technical, economic and organizational prerequisites must be created.
The jointly prepared concept takes into account the particular conditions required by the teaching activities conducted at the Führungsakademie and aims at preparing the entire IT landscape for the challenges of the future. Networking is a key aspect in this context – networking beyond national borders with other armed forces and allies. "Certain things at the Führungsakademie are simply different. Training senior national and international officers makes special demands on us that cannot be compared with other Bundeswehr schools and training institutions," Stawitzki explained. "Therefore, we must identify what exactly the IT user needs."
The aim pursued by further developing the IT landscape at the Führungsakademie is to provide all its members with IT services such as telephones, computers and servers in accordance with their missions and requirements. The provided equipment is to be up-to-date and sufficiently high-performing to comply with the requirements derived from the IT strategy of the Federal Ministry of Defence and its agenda "The Bundeswehr Leads the Way – An Active, Attractive Alternative".
At the same time, a risk management system is to be implemented to a necessary degree in order to guarantee IT security without sacrificing flexibility with regard to the provision of IT services. In different workshops, representatives of the parties involved will work towards drawing up a plan on how to put all of this into practice. Rear Admiral Stawitzki urges: "We must link up more closely and lend an ear to each other's concerns. This is the only way we can succeed in identifying the requirements of the future and provide the necessary resources such as material, personnel and training to meet them in a sustainable manner."
By: Maximilian Voß; photographers: Katharina Junge; Laura Clayborn
"Changes often require some form of external encouragement." At the reception held within the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr in Hamburg, the Commandant, Rear Admiral Stawitzki, began his welcoming speech by quoting General Scharnhorst, and proceeded to place the historical example of the Prussian military reformer at the center of his remarks regarding the future of this educational institution. Scharnhorst seized the opportunity of an epochal caesura to initiate ground-breaking reforms. Our world has changed yet again, and the Führungsakademie is called upon, now more than ever, to address and adapt to these changes in order to be able to prepare our future leaders for their tasks in the best way possible. The increased importance of the Command and Staff College has also been underlined by a recent transfer of authority: The Führungsakademie is now directly subordinate to the Chief of the Defence Staff.
The further development of basic, advanced and follow-on training and instruction at the Führungsakademie will go hand in hand with a wide range of comprehensive transformations. The Admiral explained: "The fundamental idea is that we first need to understand an increasingly complex world on the political level and subsequently draw conclusions for the deployment of our armed forces." The Commandant has taken up the cause of implementing this idea at the Führungsakademie, considering it essential to constantly reappraise the educational program and keep it at the cutting edge.
"We question everything with unsparing honesty and dare to think the unthinkable," Stawitzki affirmed. He added: "Our future military leaders will face the challenges of the future. Therefore, we must provide them with professional skills and competence of action." The entire education and follow-on training concept of the Führungsakademie will be reviewed and re-organized in order to provide the students with the best possible preparation for their future assignments and to enhance flexibility in terms of thinking. "This rapidly changing world puts many demands on our soldiers even while they are still young," the Admiral explained. "There are no blueprints that will tell you how to tackle future security challenges. And this is precisely why our future leaders must be able to identify developments at an early stage and think through possible scenarios."
Stawitzki's motivation stems from the past: "Over the last 60 years, the Führungsakademie time and time again has addressed the challenges inherent to educational developments and thus made it to the top level. This is where our institution belongs and where it should remain." Admiral Stawitzki also shared his vision for the future of the Führungsakademie: "We will endeavor to be always up-to-date in terms of methodology and didactics as well as contents by offering an internationally recognized and future-oriented training in collaboration with other agencies and academic institutions."
"I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the further development of the Führungsakademie," the Commandant told the audience. He is well aware, though, that all these plans can only be successfully implemented through "team work delivered by the great people who work here at our College". Accordingly, he expressed his gratitude to all members of the College staff, thanking them for their contributions, and made clear that he is looking with confidence to the coming months. He welcomed all those present as "friends of the Bundeswehr" and emphasized common interests because: "This year, it will be particularly important for us to realize what we have in common, to stand together and join forces to achieve our goals."
The New Year reception of the Bundeswehr in Hamburg offers a regular opportunity to look back on the past year. As patron of the event, Captain Michael Setzer, Commander of the Land Command Hamburg and Garrison Senior Officer, welcomed the numerous guests and representatives from politics, authorities and society on behalf of the 18 Bundeswehr agencies located in the Hanseatic City.
Captain Setzer's opening sentence cut right to the chase: "The past year was an eventful one and full of challenges." The refugee relief provided by the Bundeswehr during the last months also made an impact on the City agencies. "Within the scope of civil-military cooperation, our approx. 5,800 soldiers supported the emergency services and provided start-up assistance to the City agencies and organizations dealing with the large numbers of migrants," Setzer summarized.
This kind of commitment pays dividends. Some of the buildings that were used temporarily as refugee shelters have now been handed back to their original users. "However, the efforts to achieve integration must be continued!", he reminded the audience. Setzer considers controlled immigration to be "an opportunity for our country" which should be seized. These words were met with eager support, not only by Aydan Özoğuz. The Minister of State to the Federal Chancellor and Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration was only one of many high-ranking guests attending the event.
Another major event kept the Bundeswehr soldiers in Hamburg busy, too: They provided technical interdepartmental assistance during the meeting of OSCE foreign ministers in December. Setzer knows: "Peace cannot be taken for granted. Peace requires a lot of work, not only from us soldiers." He underlined the significance of the OSCE as an important forum for intergovernmental talks and cautioned: "These talks must be kept alive."
Looking to the future, Setzer declared that "modernization and transformation will be the key topics for the new year". Current developments with regard to the security situation are leading to both a strategic reorientation of the armed forces and a reprioritization of national and Alliance defense. "In the future, Germany will be called upon to make a greater contribution to crisis management," he concluded. After a long period of reductions in the Bundeswehr, a trend reversal in the areas of personnel, equipment and financing is now creating the necessary foundation for tackling this task. According to Setzer, the collaboration between the different agencies and the commitment of reservists and civilian partners are additional important elements in this respect. The Commander of the Land Command concluded his speech by thanking all of them: "My special thanks go to all of you. And I want to assure you that we will continue to be at your disposal if you need us as a partner."
The a capella band "Die Anker" of the Helmut Schmidt University accompanied the program, providing an appealing musical background for the event and inspiring Admiral Stawitzki to draw an apt comparison: "The performance of this band symbolizes the strong ties between the educational institutions of the Bundeswehr in the east and in the west of the City of Hamburg." And this was not the only vivid example of active collaboration between the different agencies, demonstrating just how true cooperation can work.
By: Christiane Rodenbücher; photographer: Ulrike Schröder
"Striving, persistence, inventiveness": These are the words used by the official speakers to describe the committed efforts of the Command and Staff College and the Helmut-Schmidt-University in the past years with regard to establishing a joint course of study. The first thirty graduates have already received their degree. The awarding of the certificates of the course of study "Military Leadership and International Security", in short MLIS, is the sign of a fruitful cooperation between the two institutions in Hamburg. It is the first formalized and clearly visible cooperation in which the two institutions are working together to complement each other.
The first ideas about implementing this course of study were put forward in 2011. Today, these broad ideas and plans have become reality. "The MLIS enhances the status of the General/Admiral Staff Officer Course at the academy. Passing the GASOC delivers almost half of all credit points needed to be awarded the degree. This is an honor for our academy and also underlines once more the high quality of the training from an academic point of view", said Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, Commandant of the Command and Staff College during a ceremony at the Hamburg Helmut-Schmidt-University (HSU).
Lieutenant General Peter Bohrer, Vice Chief of Staff, Joint Support Service, spoke of initial concerns and resistance that were soon addressed and resolved. "With this kind of cooperation the Command and Staff College can now position itself more strongly in terms of interacting with other training institutions. Additionally, the students will be qualified much better in preparation for future assignments", he said. Furthermore, Lieutenant General Bohrer spoke about "...having the courage to raise critical objections, which is something I do like very much about the young officers." Vice Admiral Joachim Rühle also addressed the new achievements in his speech. "Both institutions, the Command and Staff College and the Helmut-Schmidt-University have provided essential elements enriching the academy's and university's portfolio with an internationally competitive master’s degree. This is a prime example of education and qualification in the Bundeswehr", explained the Director of Personnel at the Federal Ministry of Defense.
Lieutenant Colonel Konrad Panzer, project officer and guiding spirit of the new course of study, explained: "The MLIS follows up the academy's NGASOC, adding to the professional and academic knowledge it imparts by bringing in the university's scientific elements. The MLIS can be taken at the same time as the NGASOC. Qualifications already acquired during the NGASOC can, in part, be recognized as academic credit points." Until now, all NGASOC students were not able to receive a recognized academic qualification after the two-year training at the Command and Staff College. This possibility has existed at other comparable institutions for a long time. "Only with such a qualification is it normally possible to be assigned to functions at the highest level in the international environment", Panzer said. The degree "Master of Arts" makes a real difference for the NGASOC students because it is an internationally recognized academic qualification.
The course of study "Military Leadership and International Security" is divided into six modules including ones on leadership reflection, security and planning processes. There are credit points for each module which are internationally recognized. 60 credit points in total are needed for graduating with a degree in MLIS. This, in turn, corresponds to a total number of 1500 working hours. Completing the NGASOC makes up half of the required credit points, and, this interlocking of the two courses is what makes it even more attractive for the students.
The majority of the MLIS students already hold an academic degree, which was acquired during regular officer training. But that was several years ago. In the meantime, as staff officers, these servicemen and women have proven themselves in assignments in Germany and abroad. The best of them participate in the NGASOC, which is the armed forces’ most exclusive course at the highest level. For this reason, it is not surprising that most of the officers’ MLIS results are outstanding. This year, six students graduated from the course (which, for most of them, was their second master’s course) with the highest possible rating of a straight "sehr gut" (very good). This means that each of these students’ performances within the two years has been completely flawless.
"And here, poor fool, I stand once more, no wiser than I was before.", as said in Goethe's most famous work "Faust" and mentioned by Admiral Stawitzki in his speech to lecturers and students. To be sure, the MLIS course is not just about studying for studying’s sake. In a few weeks, the graduates, once again, will be back in command, responsible for numerous people and a lot of material. The academic work they have done on military topics should help them to perform successfully in practice and to make decisions when facing complex challenges.
Additional burden for the officers
Due to the fact that the officers are not full-time students, some of the master theses from the first MLIS year that were submitted later than others still need to be corrected. The academy's MLIS students are taking one of the most intellectually challenging courses of the Bundeswehr while additionally spending the weekends participating at the university's seminars. According to some the participants of the seminar, this additional burden is particularly tough for the commuters. The reason for this is that only a few NGASOC officers are living with their families in Hamburg and its surroundings. Time is very often the determining factor.
Despite all the exertions , the students are absolutely convinced of the merits of the course. Major Rayk Hähnlein already acquired a diploma in international security at the Helmut Schmidt University ten years ago. Asked if he is smarter than before after graduating with an MLIS master's degree, his answer is as follows: "Definitely"! It was very helpful and interesting to supplement the NGASOC's seminar contents with the latest scientific insights. I completed my studies ten years ago. So, the MLIS course of study definitely helped me to bring myself up to date on the current status of research." Apart from the existing advantages for all parties there might also be another remarkable outcome: the MLIS as a corporate project of both institutions that could be the beginning of an "education cluster" revolving around the Bundeswehr, both in national and international terms, in Hamburg.
By: Christiane Rodenbücher; Photographs: Katharina Junge/Philipp Lenske/Gorch Fock
"You Must Know Your Destination Port If You Wish to Catch A Favorable Wind." Oscar Wilde
A good eye, experience and routine – everything must run smoothly to catch the perfect moment. On this Monday morning in the first week of September, photographer Katharina Junge has only few minutes left between the morning briefing and the instructions briefing to take a photo of the new commandant and the command group, which is to send the message that Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki has arrived as the new Commandant of the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College.
Maintaining contact, never losing sight of the target: Everything the former fireman, engineering officer and chief engineer has learned on submarines since his entry into the navy will be of great benefit to him in his new assignment. After his studies of electrical engineering, he assumed various navy assignments in Germany and abroad and then became a lecturer at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College. In subsequent assignments, he served as deputy chief of branch and executive officer with the Federal Ministry of Defense and until recently as Commandant of the Navy Officer School. Aside from having a wealth of experience and expertise, he enjoys being a leader and is eager to invest time and effort to bring about change. All in all, these are the character traits he will need to perform the management tasks he is required to. "It is a great honor for me and I am fully aware of the responsibility involved in being assigned the command of the highest-level training institution of the Bundeswehr" says the 50-year-old admiral whose interest in history quickly becomes obvious.
Actually, the new commandant must have an eye for both the things nearby and the far-away horizon: As in previous assignments at sea and on land, the Heidelberg-born admiral will need to focus on the broad perspectives as well as on the strategic views in his work at the college in Hamburg. The aspect of working together will play a particularly important role: "Trust, respect, true loyalty – all this needs time to develop and it is a result of daily action, sincere talks and discussions over a period of several months. I am looking forward to these things because for me, it is the individual that takes center stage." For the new commandant, command and control and the self-concept are not only a matter of the mind and the intellect but also of the heart and the soul.
At the beginning, it will be important for him to gain a comprehensive overview of the situation as quickly as possible. The question is: Where are we and where do we want to go? Admiral Stawitzki has started his journey and he is sailing close by the wind on the first day already. One appointment runs into the next: Briefings on the college's structures, the current task organization, the organization of the training and the courses, strategy talks, security policy events at the college, quality management and much more. The new commandant has taken an approach characterized by great open-mindedness, interest and a healthy amount of scrutiny when meeting the people in his new environment and when dealing with new subject matters.
"For the moment, I will delve into my new environment and absorb all new information and impressions like a sponge." This sentence is heard of him often that day. "To me, personal talks are important. I appreciate an authentic language and clear words." This is how he describes his approach to communication. Having gained first insights into the different subject matters, Admiral Stawitzki will have talks with the individual command levels. Speaking in nautical terms, he adds smilingly: "I will soon pay a visit to the engine room, not only because I am a trained fireman." Getting into contact with as many people of the Command and Staff College as possible will be one of his top priorities in the next weeks.
By: Nils Wienböker; photographer: Katharina Junge
The Chief of the German Navy spoke very frankly in the Gneisenau Auditorium about the state of the Navy, its history and future. Ever since its foundation in 1955, the Navy has been the smallest service of the Bundeswehr, Vice Admiral Andreas Krause explained. But its size gives no indication of its significance for the defense of the country. At the time of their foundation, the task of the Bundeswehr naval forces was clearly defined: In case of an escalation of the East-West conflict, they were to escort the supply convoys in the North Sea. In addition, it was their task to block the approaches to the Baltic Sea together with the Danish Navy in order to trap and interdict the Soviet warships.
As a result of the collapse of the Warsaw Pact these capabilities largely became obsolete, the Admiral continued. Like the others services of the Bundeswehr, the Navy has been in a constant process of reform and reduction since the 90s and is also refocusing on its core competence: armed combat. "The southern arc of crisis - Middle East, North Africa - remains volatile", said Vice Admiral Krause. As a result, refugee rescue in the Mediterranean Sea and counter-piracy off the Horn of Africa will continue to be tasks for German Navy sailors. However, they must also be able to switch to dealing with higher intensity scenarios at short notice. Being successful in dealing with conflicts on the upper level of the intensity spectrum, even though the ongoing operational requirements remain on the lower level, makes "backward compatibility" the key to success.
The key for this is training. Only high standards in training and certification can ensure such a high level of flexibility and quality among personnel. As a result, there is always a need for specialized staff in the Navy. In the technical field there is still a very high demand for electrical engineers and technicians. On the tactical level, more mine clearance divers and weapon divers are required. But the growing number of operations has its price and pushes staff and material to their limits. Accommodating 800 rescued refugees on a Sachsen class frigate, which is only designed for a crew of 250 people, challenges the logistics aboard to their utmost limits.
The multiple crew concept has proven to be successful in reducing the strain on personnel and using the technology in an optimal way. "Separating the crew from the platform was a painful process in the Navy", said the Chief of Staff, Navy. Nevertheless, this process saves money, personnel and transit time. The modern frigates of class 125 are designed to stay in the area of operations for up to two years without any maintenance, with only the crew being exchanged in a 4-month rhythm. In this way, the sustainability of the platforms is exploited fully and the transiting of the ships is reduced to a minimum.
The new MKS 180 class (multipurpose combat ships) should be even more sustainable. According to the Chief of Staff, Navy, the main purpose of the multipurpose combat ship is to engage in combat. It was planned to design the four projected ships in a modular fashion. Depending on the mission, additional capacities for electronic combat, submarine-hunting or employment and defense of combat-divers can be added or replaced. "This flexibility should not be at the expense of the platform's combat power", said the Chief of Staff, Navy. Changing modules far from the home country is complicated and complex. Consequently, weapon systems for self-defense and convoy protection are a must and should not just be an optional module on German warships.
Not only do new capabilities need to be developed - maintaining existing ones is equally important. According to the Chief of Staff, Navy, it takes thirty years to restore a capability once lost. Submarine-hunting, for example, was such a capability. Over the past ten years, hunting for submerged submarines in joint naval and air force operations has been a rather unlikely scenario; however, it is extremely demanding. "They are hunting something they do not see", that's how the trained submarine officer described it.
How the highest ranking Navy officer sees his service's future, was obviously a matter of burning interest to the audience. Asked about the Navy's future, Admiral Krause answered without hesitating: "The MKS 180 is already the future. We are talking about lifecycles planned up to the year 2070." Lasers and drones, all once science fiction, are now becoming operational reality on the high seas. Like the Bundeswehr as a whole, the Navy is currently celebrating its 60 years anniversary. The next 60 years are going to be turbulent just like before. "Being able to fight in order to not have to fight" will continue to be the motto that helps the Navy to circumnavigate the most dangerous shoals.
By: Matthias Hoopmann; Photographer: Katharina Junge
"History cannot be written in advance, but its course depends on us." Speaking to more than 300 guests, these were the words Albanian Minister of Defense, Mrs. Mimi Kodheli, used to draw the attention of the auditorium to the current challenges faced by a common Europe at the eleventh installment of a lecture series called "Hamburg Discourse" held at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College.
To the Albanian minister, it was important to talk about the present and the future. The beginning of her speech at the "prestigious Führungsakademie" took the audience to the common past, referring to Manfred Wörner, after whom the Academy's lecture hall was named. The former NATO Secretary General played a crucial part in deploying NATO forces to the Balkans region some 25 years ago. While some challenges persist to this day, there have been many changes in southeastern Europe, the Minister pointed out.
Today, there is a clear goal. Mrs Mimi Kodheli is dreaming of a unified Europe and a common integration process ensuring the stabilization of the entire region. In her view, the critics of this project are well-known and obvious from the current conflicts. But what NATO and the EU have achieved must not be undermined. "We are not asking for gifts," the Minister of Defense emphasized strongly and with a clear intention of bringing Albania closer to the EU.
Peace and stability cannot be taken for granted. This is why it is so important to quickly react not only politically, the Minister of Defense said. In the spirit of Simon and Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water," it is also necessary to build bridges to integrate the Western Balkans even more effectively into the European family.
After the Minister's lecture, the director and head of department, Jörn Thießen, hosted the question-and-answer session. "I feel like a hero when I stand up for my family." This is what the Minister of Defense responded when asked about her efforts to find the time to take care of the needs of the next generation in addition to her professional commitment. Everyone can make a difference to achieve a better and stronger Europe through personal and family commitment, she added.
The Commandant of the Command and Staff College, Major General Achim Lidsba, had invited the Minister to speak at the 11th Hamburg Discourse, followed by a dinner with guests from the world of politics and business. After the event, Mrs. Kodheli continued her journey, heading to Berlin.
Thanks to the participation of the Albanian Minister of Defense, Mrs. Mimi Kodheli, the 11th Hamburg Discourse once again turned out to be a highly interesting event. Some 300 guests followed Mrs. Kodheli's speech at the Manfred-Wörner-Center of the Command and Staff College, at times emotional and charming, at other times serious and emphatic. Guests from government, institutions, industry and civil society are regularly invited to the "Hamburg Discourse" event series, which has become a fixture at the College.
The first Hamburg Discourse was held on March 20, 2012. At that time, the Command and Staff College organized the event in cooperation with the Helmut Schmidt Bundeswehr University. Since then, there have been ten more "discourses" providing many opportunities to intensify the exchange of views on all dimensions of security issues through strategic communication. The "Hamburg Discourse" series is designed to promote networking between local institutions, experts and active citizens.
Many representatives from business and industry, politics and the Hamburg community, such as former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the ambassador of the United States, or Dr. Michael Otto, Chairman of the Otto Group Supervisory Board, have given lectures at the Bundeswehr's top training facility located in Hamburg's Blankenese district. Again, this year's 11th Hamburg Discourse provided a platform for interesting discussions, multidimensional impetus, and many smiling faces at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College in Hamburg.
The next Hamburg Discourse is scheduled to take place at the end of this year.
By: Hagen Ruppelt; Photographer: Prudence Siebert
Lt. Col. Hagen Ruppelt, German Army | Special to the Fort Leavenworth Lamp
Over the last two weeks, you may have seen an unusual increase in foreign uniforms on post. As in previous years, delegations of British and German field-grade officers have been attending the Eagle Owl planning exercise at the Command and General Staff College from Feb. 29 to March 10. Eagle Owl has become an inherent part of the brigade operations curriculum for all students of the Command and General Staff Officer Course.
This year, the exercise was unique for the students of Staff Group 3A. For the first time in the history of CGSC, they executed the German Army decision-making process and proved the success of that pilot project.
Together with their integrated international officers from Yemen and Germany, Staff Group 3A was augmented by one German staff officer, Maj. Stefan Kuhles from the Führungsakademie in Hamburg, Germany. With this new German flavor, different from all other staff groups, which had a British or U.S. focus, an exercise rename was warranted. Based on the heraldic animal of the German Panzerbrigade 21 and the motto of the American 1/4 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Staff Group 3A named the operation “Gray Horse-Raider.” Executing the German Army decision-making process, the U.S. students of Staff Group 3A experienced a new perspective on problem solving. This approach fostered teamwork within the multinational exercise staff, serving as a model for future American-German cooperation.
As the resident German student assigned to Staff Group 3A, I introduced the basic procedures and philosophy of the German planning process to my classmates the week before the exercise. The U.S. students learned that mission command, creative and innovative thinking, a strong role for the chief of staff and a consistent focus on conclusions are the main characteristics of the German problem-solving approach. Serving as the chief of staff, I guided my classmates through the new process for a stability operation on the African continent.
“It is a different approach that allows me to think critically,” said U.S. Army Maj. Joe Didomenico, one of the U.S. students of Staff Group 3A.
U.S. Army Maj. Brian Weightman, who was assigned as the S2 for the exercise, was very enthusiastic, saying, “We will be able to put a lot of different planning tools in their kitbags for future assignments.
”Throughout the exercise, the staff group prepared and briefed both U.S. and German officers, including U.S. Army Col. John Allred, director of CGSC’s Department of Army Tactics; German Army Col. Ralf Broszinski, director of the German Führungsakademie Army Tactics Department; German Army Col. Carsten Treder, German liaison officer to the Combined Arms Center; German Army Lt. Col. Michael von Block Schlesier, head of the German exchange delegation; and German Army Lt. Col. Michael Kopp, the German exchange instructor in the CGSC Department of Army Tactics.
During the exercise, students had to transition from conceptual to detailed planning and build a comprehensive understanding of a complex and ill-structured operational environment. Considering the legal implications, social network analysis, and multi-national capabilities was a significant challenge in the scenario.
Despite the difficult setting, U.S. Army Maj. Daria Toler explained, “When comparing the U.S. and the German process, I saw more similarities than differences.
U.S. Army Maj. Neil Stark had the impression that the German process provided, “…more latitude to the chief of staff and flexibility for the staff to find innovative courses of action.
Other students took away that the German process that incorporates multiple staff synchronization meetings stimulates the necessary cross-section information exchange.
After the exercise, German Army Maj. Stefan Kuhles, the German reinforcement to Staff Group 3 A, was surprised saying, “I learned a lot about my own process during this week because we had very valuable dialogues within the staff about the development of recommendations that facilitate the decision-making for the commander.
Another important aspect of exercise Gray Horse-Raider was the teamwork that took place for the students.
The S4 and sustainment section leader, U.S. Army Maj. Peter Powell, explained, “All of us learned to collaboratively apply the new process and, more importantly, that we can trust each other.”In the end, Staff Group 3A and the assisting faculty were convinced that this new approach fostered mutual understanding among German and American students. This type of exchange activity facilitates problem-solving, outgoing and adaptive field grade officers for challenges in multinational operations. Overall, the exercise served as a promising pilot and has the potential to increase future cooperation between the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr.
By: Matthias Hoopmann; Photographer: Katharina Junge
The refugee crisis continues to be the dominating issue. On 11 February 2016, within the framework of an exciting panel discussion, pupils of the district school Blankenese brought together several people including a journalist, a Human Rights activist, two members of the Bundestag from the SPD (Social-Democratic Party) and Die Linke (the Left Party) as well as Major General Achim Lidsba, Commandant of the Führungsakademie of the Bundeswehr.
In times of globalization, there is a multitude of reasons for escape, Jan van Aken, Left-Party member of the Bundestag opens up the discussion at the district school Blankenese. The inequitable global economy and misguided arms exports are a thorn in his side. Based on this, Prof. Dr. Christof Parnreiter, specialist of economy geography at the Hamburg University, raises the question of whether the German society is ready to think about a redistribution of wealth in Germany. Already as a visiting professor in Mexico he experienced cruel consequences that can emerge on the basis of unstable conditions.
"It is not always very comfortable, but this is a discussion we must have", says Hauke Friedrichs. According to the journalist and author, arms exports to NATO partner states are basically necessary, but interrelations and arms transfers to third countries should be kept in mind, he demands. While there can be no final analysis concerning the causes for the refugee crisis, the current consequences for the citizens are obvious. The resulting necessary assistances which are also provided by the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr, explains Major General Achim Lidsba the soldiers' support under the command of captain Vanessa Feldmann.
Dietrich Gerstner is satisfied with this commitment. For 20 years, the speaker of Human Rights and migration of the Northern Church lives in a housing community with refugees and works for the church development aid. From his point of view, the current conflict, is about misuse of religion and not religion itself, and that worries him. Dr. Matthias Bartke agreed and then put the focus on future challenges of home affairs. The SPD member of the Bundestag is convinced that a well-planned qualification offensive would be necessary. "We can make it. But we want to do it right", he said. Thus, he clarifies his expectations and demands more patience with the present government.
A bit more patience. That is also Major General Achim Lidsba's key word. When it comes to international crisis, it would always be necessary to have a holistic analysis and a comprehensive approach. In this context, the Bundeswehr would only be a political instrument of the government's toolbox and its partner nations. Migration and integration now just need to cohabit. However, there has to be strategic patience. To this, Prof. Dr. Christof Parnreiter points out that integration always works through integration. This way he appeals us to integrate refugees actively and to provide them workplaces more easily. Pragmatism is the basic idea. But bureaucratic obstacles also do still exist.
At least, in preparing for the panel discussion, the upper secondary level pupils of the district school Blankenese have successfully overcome the obstacles. "Our preparation took about four months and we are very satisfied with the result", tells pupil Sebastian Schrenke about the planning process as one of the moderators of the the event. The head of the school Matthias Morgenroth-Marwedel agrees with his pupil. The district school Blankenese has presented itself from its best side. "I am proud of my pupils", he happily says. The district school's social education worker Kathrin Schubert was surprised by the fact that "...several points analyzed by the Major General of the Bundeswehr and the Left-Party member of the Bundestag were congruent. For her, the panel discussion has provided very inspiring aspects. One member of the parents' council even went one step further. "This event is much more vivid and interesting than most of the TV discussions."
By: Jörg Volkmann; photographer: Till Drinnhausen
In line with Oscar Wilde – "Travel improves the mind wonderfully, and does away with all one's prejudices" –, the Army syndicates of the current International General/Admiral Staff Officer Course (IGASOC) travelled to the south of Germany at the beginning of the year. For many years, trips to the South have been an integral part of the course program. On this journey, the course participants had the opportunity to not only get to know selected military agencies of the Bundeswehr and German business enterprises, but also to experience the Bavarian culture and way of life.
The journey from Hamburg to Munich alone was an opportunity, particularly for the international students, to get a first impression of the varieties of the German landscape.
Starting from the "base camp" in the Bavarian capital, which of course first had to be experienced, explored and tasted under the guidance of local experts, the travelers continuously expanded their radius of action.
As early as on the second day of the trip, the students headed for the mountains, where they received a warm welcome by the Mountain and Winter Combat Training Facility in Mittenwald. Later, they gained firsthand experience of the local conditions of height, ice and snow. This was especially interesting for those participants coming from countries where snow and ice are rarely seen – if ever.
Under expert guidance, the students climbed up to the mountain peak, where they received information on the appropriate measures to be taken after an avalanche accident. Thanks to the experience and skill of the mountain guides, however, the participants did not have to make use of their newly acquired knowledge.
Of course, a real mountain hike has to include a hearty snack taken during a convivial get-together in a mountain hut. The men and women of the training facility truly made this day in the Upper Bavarian mountains a unique experience.
On the next day, the students continued their journey, heading to the Medical Instruction Regiment located in Feldkirchen in Lower Bavaria. The capabilities of the medical task force were vividly presented, once again emphasizing the importance of medical support for military personnel on operations. This was no doubt a beneficial addition to classroom theory.
The destination of the fourth day of the journey was Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth, one of the most important companies in the field of military and civilian helicopter production. The Swabian company received the Army syndicates of the IGASOC in a highly professional and hospitable manner. Apart from a general presentation of the company and explanations of current military helicopter samples, the opportunities and risks of helicopter production were described, followed by a guided tour of the facility, during which the students had the opportunity to gain some insight into the complexity of the production processes.
After the "base camp" had been relocated from the river Isar to the river Main – to Würzburg, to be exact – the travel group set out to explore the Lower Franconia region. Similar to a few days before, this discovery tour also started with a professional and interesting guided tour of the city, this time leading through the historic center of Würzburg.
Afterwards, the students aimed for the journey's highlight: the now 35th visit to the House of Castell-Rüdenhausen. This noble family feels deeply bound to the Bundeswehr.
Thanks to the exceptional hospitality and cordiality of the hosts, the students gained insights into the centuries-old dynasty of a family pertaining to German aristocracy as well as into their present social and economic commitments and current challenges.
Apart from a fascinating presentation of the family archives, the forestry and viniculture branches of the family business were also covered in detail.
Before returning to Hamburg, the students also visited the Bundeswehr training facilities in Hammelburg, where they had the opportunity to get to know both the Infantry Training Center and the UN Training Center. Especially the extensive static capability display used by the infantry to demonstrate its modernity and performance spectrum made a lasting impression on the international students in particular.
They were especially interested in the activities of the UN Training Center, because it cultivates training cooperation programs with most of the countries that send students to the IGASOC. Indeed, many IGASOC students have been trained there.
For the Army syndicates, the trip to the South of Germany has always been one of the course highlights. This year was no exception.