New Security Challenges –
New Training Opportunities
The security environment continues to change at a rapid rate and NATO is working to ensure that the Alliance is capable of meeting these emerging security challenges. Cyber attacks, the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and other emerging threats such as energy vulnerabilities are all matters of concerns to the security of NATO’s almost 900 million
citizens. NATO School Oberammergau continuously adapts its training and education programme to meet these challenges.
Non-Commissioned Officer Programme
The NATO senior military leadership identified the requirement for enhanced Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) development, as a principal force multiplier in the Alliance. Missions such as Afghanistan have shown that the operational environment has changed significantly and progressively NCOs have to face these challenges with increasing levels of responsibility and leadership. As a result there is a strong need to enhance the interoperability of NCOs working in international setting. By establishing a Non-Commissioned Officer Programmes Department in 2009, NATO School Oberammergau became the principal NCO training and education asset of the Alliance, focussing on enhanced interoperability among NCOs.
A significant output of the School is training personnel destined for operational service in Afghanistan. Since 2007, NATO School has run a variety of courses, from supporting Provincial Reconstruction Teams to delivering courses world-wide on the emergent 'insider threat', as part of the Expeditionary Intelligence Training Programme. Additionally, Mobile Education and Training Teams from Oberammergau have delivered operational-level planning to senior Afghan commanders in Kabul. Afghan National Security Force personnel attend courses at NATO School Oberammergau and although the ISAF combat mission will end in 2014, the training of Afghan forces is likely to continue for many more years.
Since 2010 the NATO School Oberammergau has run Shari’a Law and Military Operations Seminars in cooperation with the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Science, Syracuse, Italy. The week-long seminars are designed to cross the cultural divide and increase understanding of the legal constructs that are encountered in the Islamic world, and are attended by a wide cross-section of jurists, academics, legal practitioners and military personnel from across the world.
In October 2010 the School conducted the first Cyber Security-Network Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Mitigation Course, run in cooperation with the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Participants from 11 NATO nations attended this eight week course, consisting of a one-week residential opening segment at Oberammergau, a six week distance learning session from the students' home location, concluding with a resident block of one week at the NATO School Oberammergau.
Maritime Security and Counter-Piracy
In early 2012, an Anti-Piracy Workshop was conducted at NATO School Oberammergau to provide Commanders and Legal Advisors a broad knowledge of piracy issues, from the historical, legal, commercial and NATO perspectives. The workshop outlined the legal framework for anti-piracy operations and especially the legal issues related to detention, extradition and prosecution of suspected pirates. Lessons learned from past and current NATO anti-piracy operations as well as the future maritime security concept were presented by the speakers. Since then the School has worked with the US Naval Postgraduate School to develop a wider 8-week long maritime security course.
On 2 December 2010 The United States Congressional House of Representatives officially recognised the achievements of the NATO School Oberammergau by approving House Resolution 527. This resolution acknowledged the School as NATO’s “premier operational-level education and training facility” and its accomplishments since being established in 1953. Resolution 527 also commended the School for “its critical support of NATO’s efforts to promote global peace, stability, and security”.