Training for European SSR Missions

On 21 October 2008, the Dutch minister of defence Eimert van Middelkoop addressed some 45 civilian and military officials from EU member states, gathered in The Hague for the first SSR training course of the European Security Defence College. An initiative of the Netherlands in collaboration with France, the course was organised by the Netherlands Defence College (NDL), which also provided the venue and the catering, and the Institut des hautes études de défense nationale (IHEDN) in Paris. NDC and IHEDN delegated most of the course development and the teaching to CESS. At their request, CESS also compiled a comprehensive teaching pack in English and French for use in future courses. Our trainers (Michael Ashkenazi, Sami Faltas, Kees Homan and Bauke Snoep) ran four parallel sessions, with the assistance of Ritske Bloemendaal, Merijn Hartog and Erik Sportel.

The focus of the ESDC course in The Hague was mostly on SSR in the context of the European Security and Defence Policy, which is the responsibility of the Council of the EU, popularly known as the Second Pillar. The next course, held at the European Commission in Brussels on 27-28 November, was very much a First Pillar affair. We organised it as subcontractors of the European Institute of Public Administration. At the invitation of Joaquín Tasso Vilallonga of the Directorate-General for External Relations (RELEX), Sami Faltas and Erik Sportel conducted an SSR training course for EC staff, working either at headquarters or at EC delegations in transition and developing countries. CESS has also been training SSR instructors in courses hosted by InWEnt in Bad Honnef Germany, and funded by OECD DAC and GTZ. Working with Michael Ashkenazi (Bonn International Center for Conversion), we taught such courses in Bad Honnef in November 2007 and July 2008. Participants came from various EU countries, as well as some post-conflict countries. To meet our own need for SSR instructors, we staged a training of trainers course in Groningen in August 2008. We were joined by two colleagues from the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

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