The International Alumni Peace and Security Course took place April 7-11 at the Army War College. This pilot seminar week gathered prominent military leaders in seven countries whose graduates of the Army War College are in position of authority and responsibility within the nation and within the international security structures.
The goal of the week was to offer an educational event for the alumni, to provide their perspectives to The War College leadership and to learn from them about continued improvement of professional military education.
The international alumni included Brazil's Maj. Gen. Joarez Ales Pereira Jr., Colombian Maj. Gen. Javier Fernandez-Leal, German Col. Klaus Finck, Italy's Brig. Gen. Pietro Tornabene, Norwegian Maj. Gen. Kristin Lund, Pakistan's retired Lt. Gen. Raza Khan as well as Maj. Gen. Isfandiyar Patudi, and the United Kingdom's Brig. Gen. Ian Rigden.
The International Alumni Peace and Security Course was designed to leverage the insights and experiences of our international graduates and to strengthen their connections to USAWC.
It was a big success, according to Dr. Lance Betros. "The alumni said repeatedly that their year at USAWC was one of the defining experiences of their military careers. They clearly value their association with this great institution and want very much to continue the relationship."
The most oft-cited recommendation offered by the international alumni was to create an alumni network that allows interactive engagement among themselves and with USAWC faculty and students, said Betros, who noted that the task is included in the academic campaign plan. The College is already working to implement the recommendation.
The multilayered course included special sessions in the Center for Strategic Leadership and Development. Maj. Gen. Fernandez, director of the Colombian War College, led a discussion about the Profession of Arms, and commonalities across regions and cultures. Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo and Dr. Lance Betros shared their insights as The War College commandant and provost, respectively, about the role of senior professional military educators in preparing the strategic leaders who will meet future challenges.
The schedule included Army Leader Day, as an opportunity to engage with students of the Class of 2014 and their faculty in discussions inspired by the keynote speaker of Army Leader Day, Under Secretary of the Army Brad Carson. Carson's challenge to students and alumni alike was to ask if the military culture run counter to the innovation in thinking, structuring and operations that will be required to balance security obligations and budget realities.
For two and half days, the international alumni took part in The Strategy Conference, April 8-10, which addressed shared issues of defining the nature of emergent threats and assessing force structure options for joint and multinational security cooperation and operations in a period of reduced defense budgets. The grads joined the current student body and guests from policy, academic and military communities for the expert commentary during "Balancing the Joint Force to meet future security challenges," the 25th Annual Strategy Conference of the Army War College. Brig Ian Rigden participated as a panelist discussing defense and military challenges through 2020; in this role, Rigden represented the Development, Concepts, and Doctrine Centre of the U.K. Ministry of Defense.
Commandant Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, host for the International Alumni pilot course, closed the week with an exclusive after-action review session.