by Colonel Brian A. Hill
NSO Dean of Academics and Senior National Representative for Student Affairs
The NATO School Oberammergau (NSO) completed the 2018 academic year in December by hosting two Joint Targeting Interoperability Curriculum courses which enabled more than 30 students from 20 nations to receive Battle Damage Assessment and Collateral Damage Estimation training in support of NATO priorities. In 2018, more than 9,400 students attended resident courses at NATO School Oberammergau, an increase of more than 800 from 2017. Additionally, more than 990 military and civilian personnel completed Mobile Education and Training Team events which enabled multiple NATO Command and Force Structure organizations and partner nations to maximize education and training opportunities for their respective staffs. Furthermore, NSO continued or established key partnerships with Morocco, Ukraine, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Center in Kuwait, Singapore, the Swedish International Defence Centre, The Hague University, Tor Vergata University in Rome, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and a host of additional global partners from military and civilian academia and industry. Through its 257 iterations of more than 110 courses, NSO contributed directly to the strength and resolve of NATO and its partners. The cornerstone for NSO's program of instruction is NATO's Global Programming methodology which turns the Alliance's education and training priorities, expressed through SACEUR's Annual Guidance for Education and Training (SAGE), into actionable solutions. New or revamped curriculum offerings in Logistics, Joint Effects, STRATCOM and Cyber Defense directly addressed these priorities and helped prepare NATO and partner personnel for operations, staff positions, and national duties in direct support of the Alliance. Ten NSO courses earned NATO-Approved certification in 2018 from HQ Supreme Allied Command Transformation (HQ SACT) Joint Force Development, bringing the total number of NATO Approved courses to 105 across the NSO program of instruction. A staff comprised of more than 170 course directors, administrators, operations and support professionals from 22 nations deliver the NSO program each year with a commitment to provide effective, efficient, and affordable education for NATO Allies and partners. Additionally, a course speaker and support cadre of more than 1,000 subject matter experts instruct in 27 of NATO's 29 functional and operational disciplines at NATO School Oberammergau.
NSO kicked off the 2019 Academic year on 7 January with four course offerings and continued focus on directly contributing to NATO’s strength and resolve. The school was recently designated as the Department Head (DH) for the Education, Training, Exercises and Evaluation (ETEE) discipline. In this role, NSO supports HQ SACT’s efforts to translate NATO Education & Training requirements into solutions across the individual and collective training spectrum. Furthermore, as part of its duties to craft the ETEE discipline Education & Training program, NSO will host the first-ever ETEE Annual Discipline Conference early in 2019. As one of a handful of NATO’s fully accredited education and training facilities, NSO maintains a robust Quality Assurance program to ensure all course offerings are fit for purpose and uphold the highest academic standards in planning, coordination, and delivery. In 2019, the march towards institutional reaccreditation will pick up pace for NSO as it assesses organizational key performance indicators, quality management, and course certification standards as part of a comprehensive self-assessment review that will carry into 2020 when NATO reaccreditation is scheduled to occur. Finally, as resident courses form the core of NSO’s mission to support the Alliance, new offerings in the areas of Design Thinking, Force Protection, Intelligence Support to Planning, Cyber Defence, Social Media, and Suppression of Enemy Air Defence will join the NSO program of instruction. Interested students and organizations can keep up to date with the NSO academic portfolio at www.natoschool.nato.int/Academics/Portfolio/Course-Announcements and receive additional information and updates throughout the year. NSO looks forward to welcoming Alliance and partner military and civilian students and course support personnel for another year of delivering individual education and training solutions to meet NATO’s current and emerging operational priorities.