George C. Marshall Center Director Keith Dayton, Associate Dean Rick Steinke and Black Sea and Eurasia Program Director Valbona Zeneli traveled to Kiev, Ukraine, Jan. 28-30, for a series of meetings with U.S., German and Ukrainian officials to improve and strengthen outreach opportunities in that country. 

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Marshall Center Director Army Lt. Gen. (ret.) Keith Dayton shakes hands with Director of the I. Chernyakhovski National Defense University Gen. Genadiy Vorobyov during a visit to the institution. (Contributed Photo from Ukraine National Defense University)

One of the meetings was at the I. Chernyakhovski National Defense University where the Marshall Center team met with school leadership to outline areas for future cooperation between the two institutions.

“Our goal at the Marshall Center is to bring people together to jointly seek and find solutions to the complex issues we all face. My impression is that your University is pretty much about the same,” Dayton said to the school officials. 

According to their website, the National Defense University of Ukraine is undergoing major restructuring. New academic modules are being added to the curriculum and programs are being further improved.

“Our immediate task is to create an all new university that will be truly a research and educational institution for the future. Our top priority is to continue to introduce advanced training tools and best practices drawing on our experience in anti-terrorist operations,” Academic Director Ukraine Col. Serhiy Salkutsan told the Marshall Center team.

While defense reform is taking place in Ukraine, Dayton cautioned school officials about the difficulties of national reform.   

“One of the key impediments to reforms and effective implementation of the law for national security and defense policy in Ukraine derives from the fact that parliamentarians tend to lack understanding of the military and what is going on in the military,” said Dayton.

The Marshall Center has held several tailored seminars for Ukrainian parliamentarians over the past year to help elected officials understand their role in civilian control of the military. Director of the I. Chernyakhovski National Defense University Gen. Genadiy Vorobyov explained what they were doing to foster reform in this area as well. 

“In order to help our civilian colleagues better understand what and how the military operates, we’ve organized a series of training events not only for our parliamentarians, but also for the media and various groups,” said Vorobyov.

The visit led to both institutions outlining main areas for future cooperation.

The Marshall Center team also met with U.S. and German embassy teams to learn more about how the Marshall Center could help support their efforts for democratic reform in Ukraine. 

According to Dayton, the Marshall Center will hold additional tailored seminars for Ukrainian leaders, offer language training opportunities through PLTCE, and seek senior officials to attend the Senior Executive Seminar this summer.

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Marshall Center team discusses potential for increased cooperation with officials from Ukraine’s National Defense University. (Contributed Photo from Ukraine National Defense University)

(Story edited from translation of Ukrainian National Defense University press release)