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News Overview


Giving Tree

SSGT Charisma Giddens hands out the gifts

The NSO Giving Tree sparks joy to local children

By the Public Affairs Office

As in previous years, the Staff of the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) sought to bring joy to the orphans of the Marie-Mattfeld House in Oberammergau at Christmastime. This year's Giving Tree was decorated with an abundance of presents which were then donated to the children.

More than 20 gifts were collected. Among them were classics such as puzzles as well as the more unusual gifts such as umbrellas. The NSO staff hope the children of the Marie-Mattfeld House will enjoy the holiday season, have a Merry Christmas and a safe New Year.

Florian Streibl at the NSO

Mr. Streibl, Colonel Davis, and Colonel Tölkes

Florian Streibl at the NSO

By the Public Affairs Office

The NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) leadership welcomed Mr. Florian Streibl, member of the Bavarian State Parliament (MdL) and Parliamentary Group Leader of Freie Wähler Party, to the School.

The Commandant, Colonel Michael Davis, and the Deputy Commandant, Colonel Jac-Peter Tölkes, presented the NSO's comprehensive hygiene plan to Mr. Streibl and, perhaps more important, explained the mission of the School and the associated opportunities and challenges.

Reciprocally, Mr. Streibl provided an insight into his work within the Bavarian State Parliament and expressed the view that, even in these difficult times, the training of international military personnel is still possible.

INTEL Hybrid Course

Staff Captain Michael Hupp trains students at the NSO

The NSO offers the Hybrid INTEL Course

By the Public Affairs Office

Students and speakers took the opportunity to participate in the NATO Security Course via either VTC or in residence at the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO). 16 students from 10 nations undertook training in NATO Security Policy, specifically intelligence and information sharing and security awareness.

The course was conducted by two of the NSO's Reserve Officers and supported online by speakers from ACT and the NATO Office of Security.

If you want to learn more about the course and the Intelligence Department, please click → here

Web Conference

The NSO supported the virtual CEIP course

The NSO conducted CEIP Course online

By Liliana Serban, ROU-CIV, Naval Postgraduate School Course Director
and Col Michael A. Davis, USA-A, Commandant of the NSO

27 participants completed the NATO Science for Peace and Security Advanced Training Course “Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection(CEIP) and Resilience”.

The NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) in conjunction with the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Regional Centre in Kuwait conducted the course. This annual event brought together students from across the inter-governmental spectrum in Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

This course was conducted exclusively online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The many practitioners and scholars joined the students virtually from locations and organizations such as NATO’s Hybrid Threats & Energy Security Section and the Defence Policy and Planning Division at NATO HQ in Brussels, Belgium.


Re-Accreditation process of the NSO

Unconditional Accreditation Status of the NSO Extended

By the Public Affairs Office

The NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) will continue to offer its portfolio of 112 NATO-approved courses. Our students can rest assured that the NSO's mission to conduct education and training in support of current and developing NATO strategy, policy, doctrine and procedures is extant and endorsed.

Based upon the quality of the submitted NSO Self-Assessment Report in Jul 20, HQ SACT has decided to extend the formal status of the NSO by 12 months; the Re-Accreditation process will be complete by 01 Dec 21.

Virtual Learning Meets Reality

Students can interact with speakers around the globe

Virtual Learning Meets Reality

By the Public Affairs Office

The NATO School Oberammergau has initiated a programme blending live, residential courses with a global audience of virtual speakers and students.

An example of this are the recent Public Affairs Courses in which students had the opportunity to interact with speakers and other students connecting via virtual conferences. These courses also included mission-oriented scenarios which discussed and utilised various technologies.

Furthermore, the NSO is currently developing a new online course portfolio for 2021 which will combine with, and complement, the more-established residential courses.


The NSO Command Group explains the COVID-safety measures

Landrat Speer and Mayor Rödl at the NSO

By the Public Affairs Office

The NATO School Oberammergau welcomed Landrat Anton Speer and the Mayor of Oberammergau, Andreas Rödl to the School.

An important topic for this meeting was the School's operation under COVID-conditions and the associated hygiene concept. Following the visit, both politicians were confident the international students were in very safe hands.

Speer and Rödl were also pleased with the involvement of the international families within the community. "This diversity of languages, nations and customs is what makes the town so unique," said Rödl during his visit to the School.


LTC Christian Wilhelm (NSO) delivers tailored training

NSO Instructor visits Rome for Strategic Communications Training

By the Public Affairs Office

The NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) and the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence sent a Mobile Education and Training Team (METT) to Rome to deliver tailored training in NATO Senior Official Strategic Communications to MGEN Nicola Zanelli and BGEN Beniamino Vergori of the Italian General Staff of the Army Headquarters. The SHAPE Communications Directorate also delivered an update on the Information Environment in Afghanistan via VTC; both generals are to deploy there soon. MGEN Zanelli, the designated DCOM RSM, expressed his gratitude to the respective StratCom SMEs to make this tailored solution possible. The NSO’s Hybrid, Influence & Effects Department (HIED) is looking forward to welcoming both as Senior Speakers to Oberammergau in 2021.

Colonel Michael A. Davis

Col Davis, MCPO Skorjanc, Mr. Huber, Mr. Rödl

Oberammergau’s Mayor at the NSO

By the Public Affairs Office

The Mayor of Oberammergau, Mr. Andreas Rödl, and his deputy, Mr. Eugen Huber, visited the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) this week. The NSO Commandant, Colonel Michael A. Davis, showed them the School and presented the hygienic concept. The Mayor really appreciates how the NSO handles the operation of the School under COVID-19 restrictions.

More than a month ago, the NSO resumed providing education and individual training on the operational level to international students.

Colonel Michael A. Davis

Colonel Michael A. Davis

Powerful Cooperation Between the NSO and the George C. Marshall Center

By the Public Affairs Office

Colonel Michael A. Davis, Commandant of the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) supported this year’s Eurasian Security Studies Seminar (ES3) at the George C. Marshall Center (GCMC) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

The 3-week seminar is a capstone event for the US Foreign Area Officer (FAO) corps. It started on 9 Sep 20 and is providing initial training to the 25 new FAOs to understand the key security and Alliance issues at the core of Eurasian peace and stability.

Colonel Davis presented the basic history and concepts of Energy Security, as well as the key international, regional, and national issues and interests concerning Energy Security in Europe and Eurasia. "Energy is the lifeblood of our modern societies, as crucial as water and air. It is a component of nearly every foreign policy matter and fundamental to successful military operations. Understanding energy security will be paramount to your work as Foreign Area Officers, whether serving at a strategic staff level or in one of our embassies abroad", said Colonel Davis.

Mr Swords

Ms. Gialitaki, Col Davis, Mr. Swords, Mr. Bumgardner, Col Craycraft, Lt Col De Dios

Mr. John Swords' visit to the NSO

By Lt Col Carlos De Dios, USA-AF
Legal Advisor (US)

On 20 Aug 20, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) was pleased to host Mr. John Swords, the Chief Legal Advisor to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Mr. Swords discussed unique legal issues affecting NATO policy and procedures as a guest speaker for the NSO Legal Advisor Course. The course prepares military and civilian legal advisors to address legal issues routinely encountered when working for or with NATO organizations. The NSO is committed to bringing high quality presentations, education, and training to its students for successful NATO operations.

NSO reopens

Lt Col Carlos De Dios

The NSO Reopens for Residential Courses

By the Public Affairs Office

On 17 Aug 20, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) reopened for residential courses beginning with the Legal Advisor Course and the NATO Instructor Course hosting over 40 students. The NSO implemented strict safety and hygiene protocols to ensure the safety of the students and NSO staff. Safety measures included mandatory use of face coverings and reduced class sizes to allow for additional spacing between students. "The courses were a great success for the NSO demonstrating that we can continue to deliver critical individual training and education to our Allied partners in a safe and effective manner," said Lieutenant Colonel Carlos De Dios, the course director for the Legal Advisor Course.



Successful completion of the NATO Science for Peace & Security Cyber Programme (SPS) for the Republic of North Macedonia

By Liliana Serban, ROU-CIV
Naval Postgraduate School Course Director

On 07 Aug 20, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO), together with the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), formally completed the M6-109 Network Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Mitigation Course offered to the Republic of North Macedonia (MKD). All training was conducted online in an effort to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and successfully concluded the cyber programme offered by the two Education & Training (E&T) institutions to the newest NATO member. Of the 30 students who successfully completed the course, 23 students were certified in Ethical Hacking v.10 by the EC-Council, an internationally recognized certification body.

The two NATO SPS cyber courses offered this year to the MKD represent the Alliance’s investment in the Education and Training of its members, together with providing cyber expertise, support and information sharing.



Resident Academic Pause

By COL Michael Davis, USA-A
Commandant NATO School Oberammergau

The NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) ceased in-resident education effective Friday, 13 Mar 20.

Our intention is to resume in-resident education 17 Aug 20. If the situation allows, we will re-admit resident students and begin local training sooner. The NSO will continue to update customers and nations alike, based on the dynamic situation.

The NSO intends to continue normal staff and faculty operations in the coming days, while remaining vigilant and exercising preventative measures to ensure the safety of our staff and faculty.

We extend our deepest apologies to the many of you that support the NSO. I am certain that you understand our obligation to focus, first and foremost, on the health and safety of our local community, which includes our NSO faculty and our larger Oberammergau community.

Target System Analysis Workshop


First Target System Analysis Workshop at the NSO

By LTC James Pierotti, CAN-AF
Deputy Department Director JTIC

On 18 and 19 Feb 20, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) held the very first Target System Analysis Workshop. Over 40 participants from across NATO’s command and force structure, and from 14 different nations, attended to discuss the federation and standardization of a target system analysis. As NATO stands up its new Centralized Targeting Capacity (CTC) organization, it is critically important to standardize NATO’s approach to targeting, which includes the what, why, and how to create a target system analysis that can be shared across NATO. Integration of lethal and non-lethal effects was a priority for the discussion on how to transition from day-to-day operations to a crisis, and overall the conference led to a shared understanding of the basic of target system analysis between nations and NATO organizations. Group Captain Emma Thompson, the commander of CTC, stated that "federating NATO’s approach to targeting is an important milestone and this conference was a necessary and successful first step to developing a shared understanding of the way forward."

LGEN Rockwell visit to the NSO

CMSgt Bowes, COL Hill, LTC De Dios, LT Gen Rockwell, COL Davis, COL Kennedy, CMSgt Locke

LT Gen Rockwell visit to the NSO

By LTC Carlos De Dios, USA-AF
Legal Advisor (US)

On 07 Feb 20, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) was pleased to host The Judge Advocate General of the United States Air Force (TJAG), Lieutenant General Jeffrey Rockwell, and the USAFE-AFAFRICA Staff Judge Advocate, COL James Kennedy III, following the annual 2020 USAFE-AFAFRICA Legal Summit held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen that week. The NSO Commandant COL Michael Davis, the NSO Dean of Academics COL Brian Hill, Mr. David Stoffell NSO Department Head for NATO Education, Training, Exercises, and Evaluation, and the NSO Legal Department Director LTC Carlos De Dios briefed LT Gen Rockwell on the NSO training contributions to the alliance and the NSO legal department's efforts to ensure NATO legal advisors are prepared to support and enable successful NATO operations. LTG Rockwell also emphasized the need for continued collaboration between the U.S. Air Force Legal Service and NATO School Oberammergau to bolster Alliance capability, interoperability, and readiness. The NSO guests included TJAG's executive officer COL Paul Condie, the director of the Air Force's Judiciary COL Julie Pitvorec, TJAG's Senior Paralegal Manager Chief Master Sergeant Sherry Bowes, and the Paralegal Manager for USAFE-AFAFRICA Chief Master Sergeant John Locke.

M6-108 Network Security Course

Minister of Defence/Vice Prime-Minister Radmila Šekerinska opens the Network Security Course in Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia

Network Security Course Opening in Skopje

By Liliana Serban,
NPS Course Director /Liaison Officer

On 27 Jan 20, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO), together with the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), ,opened the M6-108 Network Security Course at the Military Academy General Mihailo Apostolski in Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia. This was the first cyber course that the two institutions will deliver in Skopje under the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme. The course will be followed by M6-109 Network Vulnerability Assessment & Risk Mitigation Course in Spring/Summer 2020.

"We need our personnel to excel in cyber defence", stated Minister Šekerinska in her opening remarks to the course. "Our investment in cyber defence if part of our long-term development plan, and one of our top priorities that supports our plan to attract, recruit, and retain skilled people to work in the cyber area", underlined the Minister in her address to staff and students.

Mr Alan Howard, NPS, together with Colonel Orce Popovski and Colonel Mitko Bogdanoski, Dean and Vice-Dean of the Military Academy in Skopje, also addressed the audience and spoke about the importance of delivering these two cyber courses to the Republic of North Macedonia.

The course was attended by 33 students (18 military and 15 civilians) representing 7 different governmental institutions.


Cyber Security Programme in Kuwait


NSO concluded the first cyber security programme in Kuwait

By Ms. Liliana Serban, ROU-CIV,
Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Course Director/ Liaison Officer

On 17 Oct 19, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO), together with the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Monterey, USA, concluded the second cyber security course at the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Centre in Kuwait.

The first course, Introduction to Network Security, held from 24 Mar to 04 Apr 19, was followed by an Introduction to Network Vulnerability Assessment & Risk Mitigation, from 06 to 17 Oct 19. The courses were organised under the auspices of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme and brought together 40 IT specialists, network security administrators, technicians and engineers from different governmental agencies representing all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

These tailor-made courses are aimed at strengthening the ties between the countries in the Gulf region and NATO and at developing local cyber expertise by addressing the “bits-in-transit” aspect of network security and potential vulnerabilities and their mitigation in networked systems.

"The security and stability of the region heavily depend on reliable cyber infrastructure, and these courses represent a significant added value to NATO’s efforts on projecting stability to the South of the Alliance", underlined Colonel Brian Hill, USA-AF, the NSO Dean of Academics, in his closing remarks.

Inaugurated in Jan 17, the NATO-ICI Regional Centre is the hub for education, training, and other cooperation activities between NATO and its ICI partners in the Gulf, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.



173rd IBCT Leaders' Symposium 2019

By Ms. Andrea Kaufmann, Protocol Office

From 15 – 18 October 2019 the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) hosted the United States Army's 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) for a Leaders Symposium. The 173rd IBCT, which is an airborne infantry brigade based in Vicenza, Italy, selected the NSO as the venue for this year's Leaders Symposium. Each of the brigade's several subordinate battalions from Vicenza, Italy, and Grafenwoehr, Germany, met together with their leadership to discuss various topics on contemporary conflict and training.
Supported by NSO instructor, SMSGT Vladimir Kubes (CZE-AF) and Dr Pal Dunay (HUN-CIV), Professor of NATO and European Security Issues at the George C. Marshall Center, the men and women of the 173rd "Sky Soldiers" got the opportunity to deepen their knowledge about NATO history and structure, NATO political and military concerns, and modern Russia. The group was also honored to include former 173rd IBCT (A) Commander and now Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe, Major General Andrew Rohling.
In addition to theoretical work in the classroom, they started every morning with physical training, hiking the Kofel, running the trails of the Ammergauer Alps, or biking along the Ammer valley. A tour to Murnau and Griesbräu finalized their Symposium and introduced them to Bavarian culture.



Change of Command at the NATO School Oberammergau

By Public Affairs Office

On 17 Jul 19, Colonel Michael A. Davis, US Army, assumed responsibility as Commandant of the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO). Vice Admiral Colin J. Kilrain, US Navy, Commander NATO Special Operations Headquarters, presided at the formal ceremony.

Colonel Davis, who has served as the U.S. Military Attaché in Italy in his previous function, highlighted the importance of the NSO as the premier operational level training institution in NATO.

After more than two years as the Dean of Academics and two years as the NSO Commandant, Colonel Timothy E. Dreifke, US Air Force, handed over his duties. In recognition of his achievements and outstanding performance providing first-class training and education, Colonel Dreifke was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal at the ceremony.

Concurrent with the Change of Command, a Change of Responsibility took place in which Master Chief Petty Officer Gorazd Skorjanc, Slovenian Navy, succeeded Command Sergeant Major Miroslav Dulaj, Slovak Army, as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of the NSO.

Almost 300 guests and representatives from the U.S. and German Armed Forces, NATO allies and partners, the Munich consulates and local communities attended the Change of Command and Change of Responsibility Ceremony.

The ceremony was supported by the U.S. Army Europe Brass Band from Wiesbaden, the Drum Corps from Peiting and the Black Powder Gunners from Urspring.

Read more about the Senior Leadership of the NSO


Boeing EA-18G Growler
Image: Senior Airman John Linzmeier [Public Domain]

XX-157-A-19 NATO Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD)

By Sqn Ldr David Tucker GBR-AF HQ AIRCOM – Course OPR

From 17-20 Jun 19, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) hosted the pilot for the proposed NATO Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) Course. The Course aims to provide personnel with the knowledge and understanding of the processes and planning of SEAD missions within the NATO context. The Course’s target audience is NATO operational and tactical-level headquarters staff who are required to execute SEAD missions as part of Joint Operations.



70th Anniversary of the NATO

By the Public Affairs Office

Supporting NATO since 1953, NATO School Oberammergau (NSO)'s students and staff, military and civilian, united for a very special occasion: The Alliance’s 70th Anniversary. Before the photo was taken, everyone enjoyed a delicious anniversary theme cake provided by the NSO Command Group in the NSO cafeteria.


Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course


Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course

By Michael Ruhle, Head of Energy Section, Emerging Challenges Division, NATO HQ Brussels

From 24-28 Sep 18, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) held its fourth Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course. 38 participants from 22 countries discussed multiple dimensions of energy security, ranging from geopolitical issues, maritime and cyber security, to energy efficiency in the military. A particular focus was the protection of critical energy infrastructure. In addition to lectures, participants also engaged in a table-top exercise, which allowed them to apply their newly acquired knowledge.

The Course was organized by the NSO with support of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence in Vilnius, Allied Command Transformation, Allied Command Operations, and NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division.

Office Call


Major General Weidhüner at the NSO

By the Public Affairs Office

On 01 Aug 18, Major General Franz Weidhüner, Head of the Bundeswehr Joint Forces Office, paid his first visit to the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO).

After being welcomed by the NSO’s Deputy Commandant, Colonel Joachim Schreckinger, General Weidhüner was briefed on the NSO mission and core activities in addition to the current status of the 32 Bundeswehr staff. The visit concluded with a guided tour of the NSO Campus and facilities. Afterwards, the General continued his tour to Garmisch-Partenkirchen where he visited the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

General Weidhüner assumed command of the Bundeswehr Joint Forces Office in Bonn, Germany, on 15 Dec 17, and thus directs all German Armed Forces schools, training and research centres, the Military Counterintelligence Service, and the Bundeswehr's higher academies and universities.



Slovak Chief of Defence at the NSO

By Command Sergeant Major Miroslav Dulaj
NSO Command Senior Enlisted Leader

On 19 Jun 18, the NSO hosted the new Slovak Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Daniel Zmeko, and the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of the Slovak Armed Forces, CSM Vladimír BELUŠ. On 7 May 18, LG Zmeko assumed responsibility as the highest ranking military Commander in Slovakia, placing his visit to the NSO as one of his first official events in his new capacity. This occasion marked history for the school as the first-ever visit of a Slovak CHOD in the 65-year history of the school.

LG Zmeko and the NSO Commandant, Col Dreifke, discussed various topics including NATO Adaptation, the security environment in central and eastern Europe, and the importance of educational development in today‘s modern armed forces. LG Zmeko was delighted to see an increasing number of Slovak students in recent years. He also took great satisfaction and pride seeing a Slovak Senior NCO, CSM Miroslav DULAJ, as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of the school. LG Zmeko assured the Commandant about future Slovak support and that he will advocate for increased faculty from NATO and Partner nations to meet the growing mission demand at the NSO.

V4 Senior Enlisted Seminar


V4 Senior Enlisted Seminar

By Command Sergeant Major Miroslav Dulaj
NSO Command Senior Enlisted Leader

From on 30-31 May 18, the NSO participated in the V4 Senior Enlisted Seminar in the Czech Republik. The NSO was represented by Command Senior Enlisted Leader (CSEL) Command Sergeant Major Miroslav Dulaj and Superintendent of the Academic Department Sergeant Major Martin Gut. Twenty four top enlisted leaders from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Texas, Nebraska, the NSO and NATO ACT discussed topics with regards to Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs), especially the future development of the NCO Corps and mutual cooperation in the area of education and training.
Baseline for discussion was the Strategic Foresight Analysis and NATO NCO Bi-SC Strategic Command Strategy and NCO Guidelines.

At the seminar, NCOs serving or having served at the NSO met. Chief Warrant Officer Tibor Bogdán, a former course director and instructor at NSO’s NCO Programme, was selected to become the next ACT CSEL, replacing CCM Jack Johnson Jr. later this year.

NATO Land Operations Discipline Workshop


NATO Land Operations Discipline Workshop

By Public Affairs Office

From 08-09 May 18, the NATO Land Operations Discipline Workshop took place at the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO). The purpose of the workshop was to facilitate the development of new training and education opportunities based on identified education and training gaps as well as providing a forum for the Land Operations Community to express and identify individual, collective or potentially duplicated training requirements.

On 09 May 18, Course Control Documents (CCDs) were signed by the Land Operations Requirement Authority, represented by Commander Piotr Paluch, LANDCOM, and Mr Mathew Fitch, Department Head, USAREUR. The Slovak Armed Forces were represented by Command Sergeant Major Miroslav Dulaj, the NSO’s Command Senior Enlisted Leader. The signed CCDs allow the Slovak Armed Forces Academy to certify the course Introduction to the Planning of Joint Operations and finalize the ACT institutional accreditation process.

Digital Badging


NSO's Digital Badging Programme

By Mr. Gheorghe Roman
Standards, Evaluation and Training Department

The NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) is constantly looking for new tools and methods in training and education, student skills recognition, competencies and achievements. Since the start of the digital badge programme in summer 2017, the NSO has issued 1139 badges to students attending 27 different courses. Currently 55% of all NSO students sign up for a digital badge upon the successful completion of their course. By the end of 2018, the NSO plans to make digital badges available for 85 courses.

NSO course graduates can claim and display their digital badge on any online platform. The NSO’s digital badges are also portable and contain metadata which provides information about the issuing organization, the recipient, and evidence that substantiates the award of the badge.

If you would like more information on the NSO Digital Badging initiative, please use the contact form at the top of this page and select ADL/eLearning from the Category dropdown menu.

DPPS 2018


Defence Policy and Planning Symposium 2018

By the NSO Public Affairs Office

From 27 Feb - 01 Mar 18 the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) hosted the Defence Policy and Planning Symposium (DPPS) chaired by Mr Heinrich Brauss, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning, International Staff, NATO HQ.

The theme of this year’s symposium was "NATO fit for purpose". Three themes emerged regularly and prominently during the presentations and discussions: strategic narrative, speed, and prioritisation.

The symposium's chairman described that the event as "[…] most productive." He pointed out, that he has "[…] no doubt that many of the ideas expressed here will feature prominently in our work in the run-up to the Summit and beyond. […]."

The DPPS is an annual gathering that started in the mid-nineteenseventies which the NSO has hosted for the past several years. This year, participants from 34 nations and 11 organizations attended the DPPS.


LTC Ian Clooney, GBR-A, ACOS J5 EA; COL Brian A. Hill, USA-AF; BRIG GEN Bruce Ploughman, CAN-AF, SHAPE ACOS J5; MAJ Annie Bergeron, CAN-AF, NSO Training Development Officer

Brigadier General Ploughman visits NSO

By Lieutenant Colonel Dai Davies
Director Joint Plans and Operations Department

From 13-14 Mar 18, Brigadier General Ploughman, Assistant Chief of Staff, J5 Plans Directorate at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), visited the NSO Joint Plans and Operations Department (JPOD) and discussed SHAPE's vision for the NATO Comprehensive Operations Planning Course (COPC), additional NSO course offerings, and the Operations Planning Discipline with JPOD staff and the NSO Leadership. The General provided insights into educating NATO and partner staff officers and conveyed direction and guidance for future improvements in the art of NATO operations planning, a key component of the NSO’s academic portfolio.

General Ploughman's visit included observing a COPC war gaming cycle, one-to-one interviews with instructors from JPOD, and a round table summative discussion with the Dean of Academics, Colonel Brian A. Hill, USA-AF, as well as members of JPOD. General Ploughman commented: "With SACEUR’s focus on developing and growing NATO’s most capable planners, the NSO provides a conducive environment in which students are able to focus on learning and practicing the operations planning process free from distractions and pre-conceived ideas or existing thinking." JPOD’s Director, LTC Christopher Davies, GBR-M, noted the context of the visit was absolutely on target, stating: "To the future, this visit has increased the NSO’s dialogue with SHAPE and will ensure JPOD's portfolio remains absolutely relevant to NATO and continues to train students fit for purpose within the Joint Force Commands, NATO Force Structure, and beyond."

Operations success is insured by intensive and thorough planning across the full spectrum of NATO collective defence, cooperative security, and crisis management scenarios. In this spirit, operations depend on effective and efficient planning. Who better to share expertise with the NSO, the Alliance's focal point for individual education and training at the operational level, than Brigadier General Ploughman.


Dr. Andrew A. Michta (GCMC Dean), Col Dreifke, LTG Dayton, Col Schreckinger, Col Hill, Lt Col Grossmann

New Year's Reception Garmisch-Partenkirchen

By Colonel Hill
Dean of Academics

On 24 Jan 18, Colonel Timothy Dreifke, the Commandant of the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) , and NSO key leaders promoted the strong partnership with the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (GCMC) at a New Year's Reception held at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Ga-Pa) Kongresshaus. Hosted jointly by the Municipality of Ga-Pa and the GCMC, this year's event brought more than 450 civilian and military leaders from across Bavaria to celebrate the start of a new Academic Year. The evening began with a performance by the Gebirgsmusikkorps Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The Lord Mayor of the Municipality of Ga-Pa, Dr. Sigrid Meierhofer, reflected on the area's success in 2017 including its close ties to the GCMC and the NSO. She reflected on both ongoing civil infrastructure projects and future plans to support Ga-Pa's growing population. The GCMC Director, U.S. Army Lieutenant General (Ret) Keith W. Dayton, took the opportunity to thank the community of Ga-Pa and Bavaria for 25 years of support which enables the GCMC to "create a more stable security environment by advancing democratic institutions and relationships; promoting active, peaceful, whole-of-government approaches to address transnational and regional security challenges; and creating and enhancing enduring partnerships worldwide".

As NATO's premier Education and Training institution at the operational level, the NSO partners with the GCMC in strengthening interoperability and stability for NATO Allies and a host of key partners with the goal of promoting dialogue and understanding among the global community of nations.

Tunisian War College

Colonel Handle and Colonel Mattina

NSO Representatives lecture at the Tunisian War College

By Public Affairs Office

On 10 Jan 18, NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) representatives Colonel Enrico Mattina, ITA-A, and Colonel Paul Handle, AUT-A, visited the Tunisian War College to deliver lectures on NATO and Partnership programmes.

The War College is presently hosting its 22nd class with a total of 82 officers, mostly in the rank of OF-4, including eight international students from Germany and seven African nations. The NSO representatives brought an international flavour to the curriculum resulting in genuine interest in the presentations and discussions. The visit was of mutual benefit as they were able to exchange views on current issues and further cooperation with some of the officers in the audience having already attended courses in Oberammergau or received training at their units by NSO’s Mobile Education and Training Teams (METTs). In 2018 Tunisia will send officers to 32 different NSO courses.

Tunisia joined NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue in 1994 and in March 2016 requested a Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP). NSO’s engagement within the DEEP is to support the faculty and curriculum development for the Tunisian Staff and War College.

METT Montenegro


NSO supports Montenegro’s Cyber Defence Training

By Liliana Serban
NSO Course Director and NPS Liaison Officer

Under the auspices of the NATO Science for Peace Programme (SPS) the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) supports Montenegro’s cyber defence objective as defined in its NATO Accession Plan. From Mar - Dec 2017 the NSO, in collaboration with the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), conducted two cyber security courses in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica: the Network Security (M6-108) Course and the Network Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Mitigation (M6-109) Course.

The training audience of 30 students was comprised of professionals from various governmental organizations, whose daily tasks include network management and administration, as well as engineers, technicians, forensic investigators and penetration testers. Each course lasted ten weeks including both resident instruction and self-paced learning. During the first and last week of each course students had to attend lectures in Podgorica with eight weeks of distance learning in between. At the end of the Network Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Mitigation Course (M6-109) 21 students received an industry standard certification in ethical hacking from the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants. This coveted certification significantly improves national expertise and enhances national capacity to respond to cyber incidents and to the defence of national networks.

The students valued the lectures, remote laboratory environment and final projects and exams offered by the two courses. Students stated, they "[…] can use this knowledge and the presented real world examples to improve [their] regular work" and underlined that, "[…] it is nice to know so much about cyber security. […] The courses gave a great opportunity for intensive and broad learning."


Ettal Pupils at NSO


Ettal Pupils educate the NSO Staff

By Public Affairs Office

On 11 Oct 17, 15 pupils currently studying Advanced-level English at the Benedictine High School in Ettal (5 kilometers from Oberammergau) presented the German Country Brief to an audience of over eighty NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) staff and spouses. The Brief addressed a broad spectrum of German culture, history, politics and facts from Beethoven to beer, from the Bundestag to the Bundesliga.

The pupils were not only placed in the unfamiliar surroundings of the NATO School but also had to talk, for over an hour, in a second language and in the presence of their English teacher and headmaster, Hubert Hering. Through their proficiency in English, often combined with humour, the pupils successfully achieved their goal and expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to gain valuable experience and to engage in conversation.

NSO staff are planning a return visit to the Ettal High School to instruct and debrief the students and to further links between the NSO and the local community.


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OSINT Workshop

By Intelligence Department

From 26 – 28 Sep 17, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) hosted the NATO Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Working Group (OSIWG) workshop for OSINT training development.

In response to the Allied Command Operations (ACO) requirement, this workshop was directed by the OSIWG to develop new curriculum consistent with MC 0647 – Policy on OSINT and doctrine AJP-2.9. Allied Command Transformation (ACT) has selected the NSO to be the primary education and training facility to support the training outcome. This new curriculum will enhance existing instruction by incorporating contemporary practical exercises and by adding e-Learning modules as mandatory pre-requisites.

The participants in this workshop included national representatives from Canada, Estonia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, The Netherlands, USA and NATO's Intelligence Fusion Centre (NIFC) complimented by NATO Command Structure representation from the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), ACT and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).



Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course attracts largest number of participants ever

By Mr Michael Rühle, NATO HQ

From 25 - 29 Sep 17, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) facilitated the third Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course. The course was held in cooperation with NATO Headquarters, Allied Command Operations, Allied Command Transformation, the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence and the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).

This year’s iteration of the course featured the largest number of participants so far. 40 students from 23 allied and partner countries attended. According to Colonel Timothy Dreifke, Commandant of the NSO, this vindicates the School’s decision of three years ago to go ahead with this new kind of course. Alan Howard, Deputy Chair of the NPS’s Energy Academic Group, agrees: "The NSO is the perfect venue for such a course. The NSO’s infrastructure and staff help to create the right atmosphere for disseminating a lot of knowledge in a rather short span of time. The participants' feedback shows that they truly appreciate this. Their engagement throughout the course was exemplary."

The course takes place annually in the Autumn and covers various aspects of energy security, ranging from cyberattacks on energy infrastructure to maritime security.

NSO Survey


NSO Survey closed

By Lieutenant Colonel Frank Grossmann, Acting Dean of Academics

The NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) study, conducted by a Canadian professor of Political Science from Ottawa, Ontario Canada, has now been successfully concluded. There is no more need to respond to E-Mails that had been sent out by NSO and the Canadian supplier, asking for participation in this survey. Thanks to all who supported our efforts in improving our students’ learning experience. NSO will post a brief summary of findings in due course, once the final report has been submitted to us.

NSO Survey


NSO Online Questionnaire

By Lieutenant Colonel Frank Grossmann, Acting Dean of Academics

On 06 Jun 17, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) launched a survey aimed at obtaining student feedback from those who have attended NSO courses over the past three years.

Should you or your colleagues receive an E-Mail from NSO's 'QA-Team' account, this is a genuine E-Mail introducing the survey. A follow-up E-Mail from Dr. Conrad Winn, a Canadian Professor of Political Science, will contain the link to the online questionnaire. This follow-up E-mail originates from the Logit Group in cooperation with Cido Research, both Canadian suppliers to Dr. Winn. Should you have any further questions related to the survey, please do not hesitate to contact the POCs listed in the E-mails.

The NSO appreciates you taking a few minutes to help improve our training, making the NSO an even better learning experience for future students. Thank you for your contribution.



Memorandum of Understanding

By Colonel Enrico Mattina, Special Advisor to the Commandant

On 19 May 17, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Professor Roberto Mugavero, President of the Observatory on Security and CBRN Defence (OSDIFE) and USA Air Force Colonel Timothy Dreifke, Commandant of the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO).
This memorandum provides the basis for a future closer cooperation in the field of CBRN Defence between the two Institutions in order to further enhance the successful outreach policy and the high level of professional education and training offered by the NSO.



First JIPOE Workshop at the NSO

By Intelligence Department

From 15 - 19 May 17, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) hosted the first Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment (JIPOE) workshop.
This workshop was conducted in order to support the development of the NATO level 3 doctrine document AIntP-17 (Allied Intelligence Publication) "JIPOE". The aim of AIntP-17 is to provide a capability within NATO that will support the commander's decision making process during operational planning and improve interoperability by providing guidance to operators, trainers and practitioners executing the JIPOE process. In addition, AIntP-17 will serve as the basis for more detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs) and will be used inside several NSO courses.
The participants in this first workshop included representatives from USA, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, Great-Britain, ACT and LANDCOM.


Office Call

Rear Admiral Pietro Luciano Ricca visits NSO

By Colonel Enrico Mattina, Special Advisor to the Commandant

On March 23, Rear Admiral Pietro Luciano Ricca, Head of Personnel Department of the Italian Defence General Staff, visited the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) in the spirit of the long pursued policy of cooperation with this NATO prime educational institution. After an office call with the NSO Commandant, US Navy Captain Scott Butler, and the Dean of Academics, Colonel Timothy Dreifke, he received a presentation on the activities of the School. Later on, he had the occasion to meet with the Italian personnel serving at the NSO, the third largest military community there, and took a tour of the facilities.




PTEC Marketplace 2016

By Public Affairs Office

On 19 Oct 16, the NATO School Oberammergau Dean of Academics, Colonel Dreifke, addressed representatives from 19 Partnership Training and Education Centres (PTEC) at the PTEC Community event known as the "Marketplace" held in NATO Headquarters, Brussels. ( read more on ACT website... ) ( more pictures… )

Second Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course

Attendees "Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course 2016"

Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course

By Michael Rühle, Head Energy Security Section NATO HQ

On 30 September the second Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course concluded at the NATO School in Oberammergau. During the five day course 33 participants from 21 NATO and partner nations discussed crucial energy security issues, including the security implications of global energy developments, threats to Critical Energy Infrastructure, and enhancing energy efficiency in the military. Like the successful pilot course in 2015, the second iteration was a joint project by the NATO School, the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence in Vilnius, the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, the two NATO Strategic Commands, and NATO's Emerging Security Challenges Division. Speakers included renowned energy experts from the academic community, various ministries, the military, and the private sector.

The students attended lectures on the geopolitics of energy security, maritime security, cyber defence, the role of the private sector in energy security, military energy efficiency approaches, and other related subjects. They also worked in syndicates and conducted a table-top exercise to develop their own responses to energy-related security challenges.

The course is supposed to become an annual event and corresponds to the Wales and Warsaw Summits' call to enhance training and education efforts in energy security.

Member of Bavarian Parliament visits NATO School

Col Schreckinger with Herrn Kühn

Bavarian Parliamentary visit to the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO)

By Captain Franziska Hesse, Public Affairs Office

On 26 Sep 16, Mr. Harald Kühn, of the Bavarian Parliament, was welcomed to the NSO by the Deputy Commandant, Colonel Joachim Schreckinger. Mr. Kühn visited the exhibition of NSO history and afterwards invited German staff members to join in conversation during which he answered questions regarding local and national politics. He further expressed his appreciation of the military, especially in his constituencies of Weilheim-Schongau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

United Kingdom Metropolitan Police

United Kingdom Metropolitan Police

2016 International Hostage Negotiation Workshop

By Sergeant Jamie Cavazos, Public Affairs Office

In September 2016, the NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) facilitated the inaugural Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Hostage Negotiation Workshop hosted by the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police. Delegates from the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait attended the two-day workshop with the aim to support ongoing collaborative efforts in countering the threat of, and response to, terrorist-inspired events.

CTC 2016

CTC Group Photo (photo by SGT Jacob Seguin US-A/Released)

Combined Training Conference NATO School Oberammergau (NSO)

By Sergeant Jamie Cavazos, Public Affairs Office

During the period 25-29 July 2016, the NSO hosted the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) Combined Training Conference (CTC) attracting approximately 390 US and NATO military planning staff. The aim of the CTC was to synchronize, source and schedule regional, land-based, joint integrated exercises and individual training that support NATO interoperability and develop Allied and partner capabilities and capacities, with a planning horizon of 2017-2019.



NATO NCO Seminar in Ukraine

By Sergeant Major Martin Gut, Non-Commissioned Officers Programmes Department (NCOPD)

In the first quarter of 2016, SGM Janez Smid (SLO) developed a two-week seminar for Ukraine (UKR) NCOs under the auspices of the Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP). The DEEP mission is to contribute to international security through the professionalization of the Officer Corps, NCO Corps and civilian defence officials of partner countries to ensure their respective defence education institutions are compatible with western defence education standards and values. SGM Smid organized and led two seminars in the Ukraine from May 23 to June 17 and was ably supported by CWO Yancy Savard (CAN), SGM Miroslav Dulaj (SKV), SGM Robert Plzak (CZE) and CWO Henry Bethlehem (NLD) of the NSO NCOPD. The NSO staff presented lessons and guided discussions on Officer-NCO Relations, NCO Development, Gender and Equal Opportunity, Counselling and Communication and Career Paths. Furthermore, the NSO staff presented the NATO NCO Bi-SC Strategy and Recommended Non-Commissioned Officers Guidelines from Oct 2010, the NCO Professional Military Education Reference Curriculum and the NCO programmes from their respective nations and services. The seminars provided the UKR Leadership, Officers and NCOs with detailed insight in how to develop their NCO Corps and the opportunities that arise from a having well-trained educated and structured NCO Corps.


Creation of the Joint Plans and Operations Department

Creation of the Joint Plans and Operations Department (JPOD)

By Lieutenant Colonel Dai Davies, Joint Plan and Operations Department

The Joint Plans and Operations Department was created in June 2016. It was the product of a merger between the Joint Operations Department and the Joint Plans Department. In reality, this will have little impact on the current course delivery of the two departments, as they merge; things will carry on as it was before. This merger will impact on NSO's daily business in terms of the naming conventions and department function. In essence everything that was related to JOPS and JPD is to be directed to the JPOD.

CSM Petek

Command Sergeant Major Davor Petek

ACO CSEL keynote speech to the NATO NCO Orientation Course

By Command Sergeant Major Miroslav Dulaj, Non-Commissioned Officers Programmes Department (NCOPD)

On 05 May 2016, Command Sergeant Major Davor Petek, the Command Senior Enlisted Leader NATO Allied Command Operations, addressed the NATO NCO Orientation Course, held at the NATO School Oberammergau, followed by an open discussion with 50 students from 17 NATO and partner countries. The NCO Orientation Course teaches students the NATO structures, policies, operations and emerging issues required for NCOs to work effectively within the Alliance. CSM Petek also forwarded greetings and a message on behalf of General Curtis Scaparrotti, Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

AM Stacey

Air Marshal Graham Stacey

Visit of COS ACT to NATO School Oberammergau (NSO)

By Sergeant Jamie Cavazos, Public Affairs Office

On 21 Apr 16, Air Marshal Graham Stacey, the Chief of Staff of NATO Allied Command Transformation, gave the keynote speech to the NATO Operational Law Course held at the NSO. The Air Marshal’s address on The Commander’s Expectations for Legal Support was well received by the multi-national audience and provided ample ammunition for debate and cross examination during the subsequent Question and Answer session. The visit concluded with an office call with the NSO Dean of Academics prior to the Air Marshal’s departure for Virginia.

VADM Foggo

Vice Admiral James Foggo

Visit of COM STRIKFORNATO to the NATO School Oberammergau

By Colonel Zsolt Mikusi

On 14 Apr 16, Vice Admiral James Foggo, Commander US 6th Fleet and Commander Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), paid his first visit to the NATO School. During his visit VADM Foggo addressed the NATO Non-Commissioned Officer Intermediate Leadership Course and visited the Exhibition of the History of the NATO School.