By Jason Tudor
GCMC Public Affairs
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – A seminar at the Department of Defense’s European regional center here Jan. 15-23 is focusing on the handover from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force to the Afghan National Security Forces in the coming years.
Senior Executive Seminar 13-1 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies gathers 105 people from 39 countries and focuses on 11 key themes in security cooperation and counternarcotics.
“Central Asia after ISAF Transition: Regional Challenges and Cooperative Responses” also looks for specific outcomes for those attending and for the stakeholders, including U.S. Central and European Command, who count on the Marshall Center for results, according to Marine Corps Col. Philip Lark, deputy director of the SES.
“The Marshall Center SES brings together the world’s leading governmental and ministerial leaders, diplomats, military officers and security sector specialists in a week of open and frank dialogue,” Lark said. “What we want in the end is for participants to have recognition that ISAF transition results in sustainment of Afghan institutions and long-term international support.”
Lark added that the seminar should help participants see that “proactive, coordinated support from the international community is necessary,” and “greater local ownership of the issues, problems and solutions is required.”
Addressing the seminar will be subject-matter experts and leaders in government, including Dr. Kathleen Hicks, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, and Ambassador Robert Blake, assistant secretary for South and Central Asian affairs for the Department of State.
Other speakers include retired Navy Admiral Dennis Blair, the third U.S. director of national intelligence and former commander of U.S. Pacific Command; Mark Destito, regional director, Middle East region, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency; and James Appathurai, NATO’s secretary general special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia. Supreme Allied Commander Europe Navy Adm. James Stavridis is also scheduled to address the group via video teleconference.
The SES consists of plenary meetings with all 105 attendees and smaller seminar breakout sessions to tackle the issues, Lark said. The event is interpreted live into English and Russian, and includes four Russian special guests, including a former head of its military intelligence agency and a former state Duma representative.
“The role of Central Asia states, the Caucasus states and Russia is particularly important in consolidating the gains of more than a decade of military operations,” Lark said. Eleven ambassadors, including those from the Central Asian states, are expected to attend.
The SES is tailored to meet the specific needs of national ministers, ambassadors, legislators, admirals, general officers and senior government officials. The results of the SES will be reported back to Marshall Center stakeholders for use in decisions about policy and more.