Vienna: NDU Continuing Education Seminar
In a joint collaboration between the U.S. National Defense University (NDU) and the Austrian National Defence Academy (NDA), the fourth regional NDU Continuing Education Seminar was held from July 29 to 31, 2014 in Vienna, Austria. The purpose of the seminar was to provide continuing education to alumni on critical security topics and to re-energize the valuable network of NDU graduates in the region.
70 alumni from over 30 countries
Seminar participants included 70 alumni from over 30 countries and represented each of NDU’s five colleges—the College of International Security Affairs (CISA), the Eisenhower School (ES/ICAF), the iCollege, the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) and the National War College (NWC). Most participants came from surrounding areas in Europe, but alumni also traveled from as far as Argentina, Botswana, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore to attend the event. Additional representatives from NATO, EUCOM, the U.S. embassy and the OSCE also were in attendance.
Seminar sessions were held in the historic Sala Terrena at NDA while off-site visits occurred throughout Vienna. Participants engaged in lively dialogue on panel sessions focused on the changing security environment in Europe, transatlantic security cooperation outside Europe, and emerging issues such as remote piloted systems (UAV’s), the High North, and cyber security. The timing of the event proved fortuitous as recent events in the Ukraine/Russia security crisis provided a compelling backdrop for discussion. Eleven alumni formally provided their perspective through a panel presentation or keynote address, and many more engaged in the robust conversation. Presentations will be made available online soon through this website.
Attendees were also pleased to hear presentations from Lieutenant General Erich Csitkovits, Commandant of the Austrian National Defence Academy; Brigadier General Blaine Holt, Deputy U.S. Military Representative to NATO; Ms. Karin Fichtinger-Grohe, Head of European Security Policy at the Austrian Foreign Ministry; Mr. Gary Robbins, Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the OSCE; Lieutenant General Franz Reissner, Commander of the Austrian Joint Forces; and Dr. John Yaeger, Provost of the U.S. National Defense University.
Visit at the United Nations International Centre
In addition to the seminar sessions, the seminar group visited the United Nations International Centre on the afternoon of July 30th for a brief tour and briefings from several agencies and departments headquartered in Vienna. Mr. Martin Nesirky, Acting Director of the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) and former spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, addressed the group on the mission of the United Nations, followed by presentations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).
Evening activities included a hosted tour and reception at the Austrian Museum of Military History with remarks from the Acting Chief of Austrian Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Bernhard Bair. The evening was significant as the event marked the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. Attendees had the opportunity to view a special exhibit housing the car and other artifacts from the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The following night, a reception was hosted by Lieutenant General Franz Reissner, a member of the NWC Class of 2004 and current Commander of the Austrian Joint forces, at the Maria Theresa Barracks near the Schönbrunn Palace where participants were treated to a performance by the Austrian Armed Forces band. Spouses and family members also participated in daytime activities and renewed bonds of friendship which had formed at NDU.