Brunssum, the Netherlands – Friday
27 September the JFC Brunssum (JFCBS) commander, General Erhard Bühler, hosted
an ‘Academics Day’ as part of a portfolio of events designed to celebrate the
Alliance’s 70th birthday on 04 April 2019.
In April this year Foreign Ministers of NATO member nations met in
Washington for discussions and to participate in a ceremony to mark 70 years
since the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty.
That triggered a messaging campaign across the Alliance to mark this
milestone that will culminate with a NATO Summit, in London, 3rd
& 4th December 2019, when Allied leaders will gather to mark the
JFCBS has conducted a number of NATO@70 themed events inter alia
comprising briefings to local organisations, briefings to visitors groups,
NATO@70 remarks as part of Expert Training Team visits to partner nations, and
a NATO@70 bike ride from the HQs to the NATO School, in Oberammergau, Germany.
But the capstone NATO@70 event to be delivered by JFCBS was last
Friday’s Academics Day. Distinguished
guest speakers – General (Rtd) Klaus Naumann (former Chairman of NATO’s
Military Committee) & Vice Admiral (Rtd) Ben Bekkering (until very recently
the Netherlands’ National Military Representative to NATO) – outlined their
thoughts on the Alliance’s success to date, why it is as vital to global
security today as ever, and how it might need to adapt in order to maintain its
position as a key stakeholder in global security.
Following guest speaker statements a panel discussion ensued where our
speakers were joined by Dr Keir Giles from Chatham House. This session was moderated by Dr Ziya Meral
from the United Kingdom’s Centre for Conflict Analysis & Conflict
Research. A lively question & answer
session developed as JFCBS staff, representatives of local governance and
institutions, and students from nearby universities and international schools,
seized the opportunity to challenge what they had heard.
In his closing remarks General Bühler thanked the panel and its
moderator for their insightful comments, his Deputy Commander (Lieutenant
General Stuart Skeates CBE) for his efforts in bringing this idea to a reality,
and the audience for their willingness to engage.