By U.S. Navy Cmdr. Eric AgerJune 16, 2019
KYIV, Ukraine -- The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, in cooperation with the NATO Professional Development Program, conducted a seminar entitled "Oversight of the Security and Defense Sector" for young government leaders here on May 14 and 15.
NATO PDP hosted the event on the premises of the Diplomatic Academy in downtown Kyiv.
During the seminar, five experts from the U.S. and Germany along with parliamentarians and government officials from Ukraine shared their experiences on civilian oversight of the security sector with Ukrainian parliamentary staffers, and representatives from the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Foreign Intelligence Service, Security Service of Ukraine, the National Anti-corruption Bureau, the State Bureau of Investigations, the State Border Guard Service, and the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.
The event kicked off with opening remarks from Alexander Vinnikov, head of the NATO Representation to Ukraine, and Dr. Valbona Zeneli, the strategic initiatives chair at the Marshall Center.
On the first day of the seminar, Professor Joseph Vann, director of the Countering Transnational Organized Crime Program at the Marshall Center, Dr. Sebastian von Muenchow, professor of security studies and international law at the Marshall Center, Andy Polesovsky, chief investigator and counsel for the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in the U.S Senate, and Col Jon Lauder, director of the U.S. Marine Corps Senate Liaison Office outlined the U.S. and German security sector architecture and explained the institutions and methods for conducting oversight in both countries.
Additionally, Andrii Levus, Member of Parliament and chairman of a sub-committee of the Committee on National Security and Defense and Taras Pastukh, member of Parliament and the Committee on National Security and Defense, discussed the specific challenges to effective oversight faced by the Verkhovna Rada or Parliament of Ukraine.
On the second day of the seminar, Capt. Mark Burns, deputy director of the U.S. Navy Senate Liaison Office, von Muenchow, Vann, and Lauder discussed transparency and accountability in the security sector as well as the importance of the relationship between the military and legislative bodies in a democratic government. Additionally, Andrew Cuthbert, NATO adviser on Parliamentary Affairs, and Oleksandr Lytvynenko of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine spoke on the challenges in implementing the Law on National Security in Ukraine.
In his closing remarks on the final day of the seminar, Ove Urup-Madsen, Manager of the NATO-PDP, summed up the lessons of the seminar along with Zeneli.
During his presentation, Taras Pastukh said that the Marshall Center "started the conversation in Ukraine four years ago" and thanked the Marshall Center "for the large number of events conducted in Ukraine." He added that "now the topics of transparency and oversight are not new. We have taken important steps."
Additionally, Pastukh gave the Marshall Center credit for transforming the relationship between the Ministry of Defense and the Parliament by "orchestrating the first ever meeting between the Parliament and the Minister of Defense."