Director Highlights Achievements at the Friends of the Marshall Center’s Annual Meeting

FOMC Meeting

Director Highlights Achievements at the Friends of the Marshall Center’s Annual Meeting

By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (March 18, 2019) – The Friends of the Marshall Center held its annual meeting at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies March 12, as part of the Marshall Center’s community relations strategy.

Friends of the Marshall Center

The Friends of the Marshall Center were formed in 1996 and is an organization comprised of citizens from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, who sponsor activities for participants attending Marshall Center resident courses. These activities help participants, who are from around the world, experience the Bavarian culture while they are here.

The Friends of the Marshall Center hold its annual meeting every March at the Marshall Center.

The elected members led by the President of the Friends of the Marshall Center, Professor Dr. h.c. Rudolf Faltermeier, gave an annual report of the club’s sponsored activities and discussed plans for the upcoming year.  They also discussed the club’s sponsorship program where local people, even those who are not members, escort one or two participants while they are here. They also held elections for president, vice president and other key positions.

The Marshall Center Director retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton and the Marshall Center U.S. Deputy Director retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Dieter Bareihs were guests at the meeting.

“Let me again thank all of you for the generosity to our PASS (Program on Applied Security Studies) students that you continue to show,” Dayton said. “We are truly grateful.”

Helping Marshall Center Participants

The Program on Applied Security Studies is the Marshall Center’s largest and lengthiest resident program, running 10 weeks and generally involves more than 100 participants from countries around the globe, including Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. The program provides a graduate-level education in security policy, defense affairs and international relations to a broad range of security sector professionals from governments and non-government organizations.

“Our association was created to help course participants become better acquainted with the region and the culture where they will be living for several months,” said Professor Dr. h.c. Rudolf Faltermeier, FOMC president. “Our members are private citizens from the region of Upper Bavaria, who want to assist Marshall Center participants.”

These FOMC-sponsored activities help participants, who are from around the world, experience the Bavarian culture while they are here. Activities include: Guided Walking Tours of Garmisch; Ski Jump Tours and other excursions; German evenings and the sponsorship program.

The FOMC also support weekend activities for the participants by reimbursing train tickets and entrance fees for Bavarian museums, and local cultural and scenic sites.

German Navy Cmdr. Andreas Hildenbrand, PASS deputy director, said that the Friends of the Marshall Center are important to the success of the program.

“Their support allows the participants to enjoy social activities while they are here,” he said. “This enables participants to get to know each other better and features group cohesion by enabling them to travel together on the weekends to visit local and Bavarian tourist sites.”

He added that the FOMC sponsorship program “allows for interested participants to learn about the daily life of local families by including them in activities.”

Marshall Center Successes

At this annual meeting, Dayton gave an update on what has happened in the past year at the Marshall Center and the schedule for the rest of 2019. Dayton said that he considers this a stock-holder report as that’s how he sees the Friends of the Marshall Center.

“Since we last met, on 14 March 2018, we have had a very good year and the future of the Marshall Center, I believe, is quite secure,” Dayton said.

Dayton explained the Marshall Center achievements in 2018 and early 2019:

  • “Our alumni now number more than 13,300 members from 155 nations, most of whom are active in local alumni associations or online.
  • Last year, our resident programs hosted more than 1,000 participants and speakers from more than 90 countries. Our "transnational security studies" resident courses of the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies, Countering Transnational Organized Crime and the Program on Cyber Security Studies continue to attract large numbers of students from Asia, Africa and South America.  For example, last week, we graduated our most recent CTOC course with 69 participants from 42 countries.  Their focus was on building a counter organized crime strategy for the country of Trinidad and Tobago.
  • In regional resident programs, PASS was a big success as always. We hosted 93 participants from 41 countries, and some of you got to know some of them. 
  • Our Belarusian participants asked for our Dean to attend a seminar in Minsk in May, which he did. We sent a team to Minsk in the autumn.  In our upcoming Senior Executive Seminar, we expect to host the Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister.
  • German Air Force Col. Joerg Kunze has organized and will lead our next iteration of the Seminar on Regional Security in April. This will deal with several "frozen conflicts" and ultimate focus on the Moldova problem.  A special feature this year will be a field study trip by participants to Vienna to meet with officials from Austria, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and other international entities that are based there.
  • Our Senior Executive Seminar in June was about countering hostile influence operations from state and non-state actors. The focus was on Russian, Chinese, ISIS and Al-Qaeda influence efforts and their impacts in Europe. 
  • In January, we held our second seminar focused on the Arctic. It was very revealing as we had participants from all the Nordic countries plus China and Russia
  • And lest I forget, we were full-participants at this year’s Munich Security Conference as our Loisach Group held a major side-event that was attended by your Deputy Defense Minister Tauber and Peter Beyer from the Bundestag, as well as other officials from Germany, the United States and NATO.
  • In non-resident affairs, we had outreach activities with more than 30 countries. A total of 32 non-resident events were conducted in Europe and Central Asia, while 35 additional alumni events occurred in national capitals in our region, the United States and even as far away as Trinidad and Tobago.”

Marshall Center Events of Importance

Dayton then listed other Marshall Center events of importance.

  • “We continued our programs focused on defense reforms, to include parliamentary oversight of the armed forces. We held “tailored seminars” for parliamentarians from Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Romania.  In partnership with the German Marshall Fund, we have held a series of seminars called “Balkans 360”, the last meeting of which occurred just last week in Skopje.
  • We will be hosting a series of seminars in Garmisch for the Ukrainian defense sector as they struggle with reform.
  • The U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command have asked the Marshall Center to begin a program on Euro-African Security challenges. Berlin has welcomed the idea, and after a workshop last autumn, we will host a workshop next month, the focus of which will be how Germany wants this project to develop. 
  • We remain deeply involved in something called the Russian Strategic Initiative sponsored by USEUCOM. The purpose is to better understand what the Russians are up to, and to advise senior officials.”

Dayton then talked about the Marshall Center’s future and mentioned that this year’s Senior Executive topic is “China as a European Power?,” and initiatives in cyber, Foreign Area Officer Program and Central Europe that will focus on Germany, Poland and Hungary.

Concluding his remarks, Dayton said, “Thank you again for all you do for our students. You are direct participants in making Europe, Eurasia and increasingly the globe a safe and more secure place.”