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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany - Serbian government officials recently met here for a 3-day seminar on national security.

The Tailored Seminar in National Security Policy for Parliamentarians brought 13 members of the National Assembly of Serbia and one parliamentary staffer to the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies Oct. 17-19 to discuss national security strategy and security sector reform.

Serbian leaders in Garmisch"We designed the seminar to encourage free and open discussion among and between the parliamentarians and subject matter specialists from the Marshall Center and guest speakers from other Southeast European countries," said German Lt. Col. Arne Lossman, Southeast Europe program manager at the Marshall Center. "In planning the event, we worked with the members of parliament and staff to determine which national security topics were of most importance to the participants, and built the seminar around those topics."

Lossman said this event was the first of five such seminars in fiscal year 2013 tailored to meet the needs of parliamentarians from Central Europe to Central Asia. For this seminar, participants looked at nine topics ranging from EU security and defense policy to the role of parliament in defense budgeting and planning, foreign affairs and countering corruption to NATO and partnership.

Marshall Center Director Keith W. Dayton welcomed the parliamentarians, and center faculty member Dr. Valbona Zeneli moderated the seminar. Each seminar session began with a speaker talking to the session theme, followed by remarks by two of the parliamentarians, and concluding with open discussion. Besides hearing from faculty speakers, participants attended a lecture on funding defense by Dr. Robert Ondrejscak, former state secretary of the Slovak Republic Ministry of Defense, and had lunch with Anu Anguelov, the Republic of Bulgaria's Minister of Defense.

"This seminar was a successful start to the program," Lossman said. "The parliamentarians expressed their desire to continue such seminars and recommended a regional version annually. We'll continue to work with the country team to help meet Serbia's educational needs in the area of security studies."

The next four seminars in this program are focused on parliamentarians from Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Azerbaijan.