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By Amanda Sellers,
NATO Defense Education

George C. Marshall European Center faculty members Sven Gareis and German Navy Cmdr. Andreas Hildenbrand recently traveled to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to teach the second Staff Officers Course (MSOC) class at the Mongolian National Defense University (MNDU) that graduated Dec. 13.

Gareis and Hildenbrand’s efforts were done to help develop a new capacity for Mongolian faculty members at the university as part of NATO's Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP).

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German Navy Cmdr. Andreas Hildenbrand (second, left) and Dr. Sven Gareis (second, right) are congratulated by Mongolian Minister of Defense, Bat-Erdene Badmaanyambuu (center)and National Defense University officials for their contributions to NATO's Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP) in that country.  (Contributed photo)

Part of Mongolia's partnership with NATO, DEEP actively supports transformational change in the Mongolian professional military education system. According to Mongolia Minister of Defense Mr. Bat-Erdene Badmaanyambuu, the program that began in 2013 has been quite successful.

MDNU President Major General Yadmaa Choijamts emphasized the program success. 

 "This program is providing Mongolian officers the opportunity to prepare for multinational operations' staff headquarters.  DEEP changed the mindset of the MNDU, increasing the impulse for reform," said Choijamts.  "As a result of the programme, 45 military personnel from the Mongolian Armed Forces, the General Authority for Border protection, and National Emergency Management Agency have participated in Mongolian Staff Officer Course and gained knowledge and skills to carry out their duties in international peacekeeping operations staff."

Gareis served as the DEEP Academic Lead for Mongolia and told the new MSOC graduates much is expected of them as they move forward in their careers.

"You are now better prepared to carry out your duties and responsibilities as senior officers in your units and headquarters, here in Mongolia and in the missions abroad, where large parts of Mongolian armed forces serve bravely alongside their German, American and international counterparts. Mongolian ownership and leadership became the characteristics of DEEP - and in my assessment, this was the key to success."

Graduates of the program are not afraid to sing its praises. 

"I applied for MSOC in order to learn how to better integrate civil and military planning. Now I can teach my own students what I learned, especially on planning for operations according to NATO procedures," said Lt Col Khishigjargal Sukhbaatar, an instructor at the Emergency Service Branch School of the Mongolian Law Enforcement Agency.

Gareis and Hildebrand also were part of an annual review of DEEP progress at MNDU following staff course graduation.   

"Our educators passed the skills and experience gained through DEEP on to the rest of the faculty to transform the methods and the curriculum content of the MNDU.  The greatest achievement of the program is that today nine instructors of National Defense University have acquired modern teaching methodologies, especially active learning methods which are compatible with western and NATO defense education standards," said Choijamts.

The academic leadership of the George C. Marshall Center, especially through the efforts of Gareis and Hildenbrand, made this DEEP initiative successful.  The German Staff College in Hamburg and the Slovak Armed Forces Academy in Liptovský Mikuláš also joined the Marshall Center in supporting this program.