CIMIC Messenger 2017-02

Dear CMI Community,

with the release of this CIMIC Messenger, we are turning this publication into the primary external communication tool of the CCOE and CIMIC as such. With a frequency of ten issues per year, the CIMIC Messenger will now address the larger Civil-Military Interaction (CMI) community throughout the year.

We are in the process to offer this service to all current and former students, as well as to all our duty and external engagement contacts on the civilian side. It will be as easy to subscribe, as to unsubscribe from this service.

The highlight of this issue is definitely the exclusive interview with Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen, the President of Blue Shield International, and the keynote speaker at the CCOE 10th Anniversary event on October 10th, 2017. Or for the history buffs:  The grandson to the last emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Head of the Royal House of Habsburg-Lothringen.


Best regards


Wolfgang Paulik

Director CCOE

Picture: Monument in Pakistan Source: By Adil Farhan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Interview with Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen, President of Blue Shield International

Q: Sir, would you tell us more on your military engagement with the Austrian Armed Forces?

Picture: Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen Source: European Parliament

A: After living abroad, I moved back to Austria, deciding to start as an officer in the Reserves. Initially, I served for three years in the Army and then I joined the Air Force, where I was offered to become a pilot; not as a combat pilot but in air transport and liaison roles. After serving as a pilot for sixteen years, I was recommissioned to become initially a cultural property protection officer for the Air Force division. Later I continued this engagement in the Territorial Command at Salzburg and finally as a specialist for international humanitarian law at the Army Headquarter.

Q: This sounds like a perfect CIMIC career path. Did you already commence your expertise in peace-keeping missions at that time?

A: No, I was never involved in UN missions while serving in the Austrian Armed Forces. Yet, my time as a reservist provided me with sufficient opportunity to travel to several conflict areas at the time, and to carry out my duties as an advisor to many minorities in conflicts with the population majorities of their respective countries. So, I basically experienced armed conflicts, yet but not in the capacity of a military officer.

Q: How did your engagement in the field of Cultural Property Protection come about, leading you from the military experience, also as a cultural property protection officer, to the Blue Shield?

A: My country Austria occupies a very specific position when it comes to cultural property protection and the military aspects of it. This is probably because it has the longest tradition in the world in the post-WW-II era of having soldiers specifically trained and tasked for this role. This goes as far back as the 1968 uprising in Prague: for the first time, Austria was considering to invoke the 1954 Hague Convention. There was the imminent threat of troops of the Soviet Union marching across Austrian territory, in order move from Bratislava to Prague, where they were intended to be. In the ensuing years through today, we developed a specific training curriculum for cultural property protection to include seminars, as well as the entire legal background and the related directives for this topic. This knowledge has since been widely used in the international field, including several UN missions.

In Austria we consider Cultural Property Protection as a true force multiplier: indeed, this goes well beyond the mere military peace-keeping, and reaches through to the issue of nation-building into the cultural background and identity of a country. This has turned out to be very important also in the academic field where we ask ourselves how to integrate Cultural Property Protection into the military command and control structure.

From a personal perspective, the work that has been done related to both The Hague Convention of 1954 and the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, was key  to my involvement with UNESCO, and then, at a later stage to my role as a cultural property protection officer of the Austrian Armed Forces.

At the international level there had already been several national committees of the Blue Shield, yet no overall umbrella organization, despite a common desire to establish such a frame. It then took quite some time for that organization to evolve, and finally, in a 2008 meeting in The Hague, I received the honor to be elected as the founding president of Blue Shield International, now affiliated with the UNESCO. During that conference, Austria was also recognized as the country with the most solid experience in the military aspects of the 1954 Convention. Since then, we have created strong national committees, which are more capable to handle the military related aspects of Cultural Property Protection than before: indeed, before 2008, Blue Shield was much more oriented on CPP caused by natural and man-made disasters, than by armed conflicts.

At that time, it was my main goal to bring awareness to the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq, for example, and therefore to importance of the military protection aspects in cultural property protection.

Q: In one of your interviews, you compared the current conflicts near the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean to the conflicts that had shaken Europe for many centuries, culminating in the Thirty Year war (1618 – 1648). In this scenario the drawn out Sunni-Shia conflict, a conflict with core religious, territorial, economic and ethnic drivers, where do you see in this new Thirty Year war the role of the Blue Shield specifically?

A: I would definitely not try to define the role of the Blue Shield within a specific conflict. I would rather like to underline, also in light of the huge work done with UNESCO, that cultural heritage is also world heritage. It does not belong to a specific country or people, but it is basically our common heritage. And this heritage is directly cemented into today’s conflicts.

Those are indeed non-traditional, inter-cultural, inter-ethnic, inter-religious conflicts, sometimes not even connected to national borders anymore. And this, what is at stake here is: identity. And when identity is at stake, cultural heritage is at stake, which often does not belong to some specific ethnicity. This is where the international community, including organizations like Blue Shield, should intervene. When I took over my role in 2008, I had only a limited idea of how these conflicts would evolve and how much our work would multiply in the ensuing years.

Picture: Columns in the inner court of the Bel Temple Palmyra Syria Source:

Q: You have been to many zones where cultural property is at stake. In the recent past, we seen Daesh taking over world heritage sites in the Mesopotamia region and Palmyra, threats to grand cultural monuments in Tripolitania and Cyrenaika in Libya, as well as the vast deliberate destructions in Timbuktu, committed by religious extremists. What moves your heart when you experience such cultural property destruction in person? 

First of all, I look at cultural heritage as something owned by all mankind. And as a consequence of that, I am convinced that we have to increase the awareness on this issue.

For example, at this time the awareness on the necessity of Cultural Property Protection is not the same on the national and international levels. Therefore, we have to raise the awareness on the importance the cultural heritage with the local populations, and at the same within military units regarding the importance of cultural heritage for the future stability within a conflict zone.

Here it is also important to focus attention on what is happening with regard to the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage. In Syria for example, I have to acknowledge that in such a scenario there is not much, which an organization like the Blue Shield can actually do, apart from raising awareness for the abuse of cultural heritage generate illicit profit. For example, we have learned of several cultural heritage objects, which had allegedly been destroyed, when actually only copies had been destroyed, with the original pieces sold for profit. So indeed, raising the awareness for our common human history and heritage is what we have to do, as well as very much my driving force.

Q: As a the head of one of the most historic and royal ancestry lines in Europe, dating back well into the Middle Ages, is it too much to say that someone like you would have a natural drive to protect the heritage of the culture your family had such an important impact on through history?

A: Well, of course, I am dealing with history a lot, since part of my family history is part of the history of Europe. This has also created a strong awareness in me, which I am very proud to express, where ever possible. But I look at the responsibility of protecting that heritage from a much broader perspective, regardless of my ancestral background.

Q: Your organization has been growing in the last years: where does it stand now? And do you have an idea of how many buildings, structures, or sites have been designated with the Blue Shield, as worthy for the cultural identity of mankind?

A: As far as statistics are concerned, I am aware of the number of countries which have ratified The Hague Convention, or other related conventions. Those countries themselves should utilize the Blue Shield as a symbol for cultural property protection, which does not only include buildings but also collections and many other objects.

Over the years we have seen how fast some countries will act, if there is the desire to actually protect cultural property. For example, some countries in Latin America, in the beginning, did not have a clear idea about the implications of being part of the Blue Shield family. Then, when I went there to assist with the implementation of the task assigned through The Hague Convention, I was able to see first-hand how much passion they developed for their own history and how fast they were working to improve.

As a major step on the supra-national level, we established a cooperation with the UN Peacekeepers Association, enabling Blue Shield to serve as an additional link between UNESCO and UN Peacekeeping.

Q: The aim of Blue Shield International – the protection of mankind’s cultural heritage – is a very broad one. Yet, if you were to formulate an attainable goal for the organization, which one would that be?

A: Definitely, our focus today is The Hague Convention: so basically we have to deal the conflicts of our time. We will not disregard natural or human-made disasters, since a lot of work from the past is also linked to those cases. Yet, The Hague Convention is mainly about armed conflicts, and this is where our main responsibility will be.

However, I think it is really important for the Blue Shield to already operate in the time ahead of a conflict, and during the conflict itself, as this is the time when the most damage occurs. In pre-conflict scenarios, it is crucial to support countries in the implementation of the requirements of The Hague Convention. There are many organizations very much involved in post-conflict scenarios, but on the contrary, only very few ones active in pre-conflict and during-conflict scenarios.

Another major task for us has become the liaison activity between the academic side and the military, since those usually operate in different worlds, which do not communicate very well with each other. For this purpose, it is certainly one of our great strength that we have indeed highly specialized military experts and academics among our members. And we are currently planning to establish an academic, university-based international competence center to offer teaching, as well as to conduct basic and applied research.

Q: Many thanks for your time, Sir and we are looking forward to you key note at the 10th Anniversary of the CCOE on October 10th this year in The Hague.

CIMIC 360 Degrees

What is CIMIC 360 Degrees?

Intense experience and cooperation in response to crisis have brought NATO and other organisations closer together than ever before. International organisations now invite each other to participate in training and their staffs informally consult each other frequently, both regarding operations and when developing policy and doctrine. Additionally, an increasing importance has been put on the essential responsibilities of national governments and the role of civil society providing stability, resilience and resolving crises.

The Warsaw Summit has marked a defining moment for NATO in responding to an increasingly complex and continuously changing security environment. The summit concluded with the decision to increase security in and around Europe, based on two pillars: protecting its citizens through modern defense and deterrence, and projecting stability beyond NATO’s borders.

NATO CIMIC is a joint function, which is applicable to the three NATO core tasks and integral to all types of NATO operations. In the time sensitive context of quick response, or very quick response operations, or in highly dynamic and complex mission environments, the ability to provide thorough and instant situational awareness and advice becomes an even more demanding requirement.

Understanding potential crisis incentives and regional particularities, including the preparation of operational frameworks based on permanent consultation, is called CIMIC 360°. This comprehension will prepare NATO CIMIC staff, and their non-military counterparts, ahead of time for their tasks before they meet each other in a mission environment and it provide them with the procedural tools needed to be ready for instant reaction.

Picture: CIMIC in 360 Degrees Source: CCOE/ Dube

How does the CCOE understand CIMIC 360 Degrees currently?

The current and future strategic environment is increasingly dynamic and complex. An arc of  insecurity is stretching along NATO’s borders and its periphery, as defined by the two strategic directions East and South. At the Wales Summit 2014, NATO re-stated its commitment to all three strategic tasks of the alliance, but also agreed on a re-newed emphasis on collective defense.

For CIMIC, the previous conceptual focus on stability operations has thus become insufficient. The demands on CIMIC, and with it the overall conduct of  Civil-Military Interaction, are continously growing. Those will presumably shift from reconstruction efforts towards coordination and de-confliction, as any military presence and operation within the Alliance will have direct effects on the civil society of the particular NATO member nation.

Adaption and Assurance Measures:

NATO’s early and ongoing support to individual member states in the field of civil preparedness and strengthening resilience, is a responsibility of the Civil Emergency Planning Committee (CEPC). Situated at NATO Headquarters in BRUSSELS, it is the top Alliance advisory body for the protection of civilian populations and the use of civil resources in support of NATO’s objectives.

NATO’s implementation of the Adaption and Assurance Measures following the Warsaw summit, does have a direct impact on the planning and conduct of NATO operations within this environment.

NATO CEPC, the  Force Integration Units (NFIU) and alliance member agencies will therefore become the a point for coordination for CIMIC during exercises and operations. The delimitation of responsibilities among NATO CEPC and CIMIC calls for the development of theatre relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and conceptional development, required at the current brink of change from peacetime to NATO operations.

CIMIC information requirements now depend on the understanding of individual member-states, civilian contingency planning and the member states’ standing cooperation agreements with other international organizations. Paired with a sound comprehenion of national military territorial responsibilities, and of the capabilities to enable quick situational awareness, will facilitate a friction-free operating of NATO Forces.

Proper preparations also require individual and organizational training and education, as well as joint combined exercises supported by  coordination-mechanisms, which might lead to a standing “comprehensive approach framework” for certain geographical regions.

Considering all of these aspects describes the requirements to adopt a 360 degree perspective on CIMIC specifics.

What is CCOE’s role?

With its “BALTIC CIMIC INITIATIVE” of October 2016, a CCOE fact-finding team embarked on a consultative tour through the Baltic partner states LITHUANIA, LATVIA and ESTONIA, to analyse the regional tactical implications for CIMIC following the implementation of NATOs’ Assurance and Adaptation measures. The findings led to the report on ”CIMIC Considerations in Support of Collective Defence”, published in December 2016.

In order to further refine this analysis and to gain a comprehensive overview on the related situation in other five NATO countries hosting a NFIU, a questionaire-based survey has been conducted during March and April 2017. The results of this additional survey will contribute to the discussions at the upcomming CCOE Community of Interest Conference in May, 2017. This conference will be conducted jointly with other stakeholders and will highlight topics related to Comprehensive Resilience and Collective Defense.

Article is written by CCOE, Conceptual Design, LtCol. Joerg Warstat

Picture: Children and armed conflict Source: google-search/pixabay

Children and armed conflict (CAAC)


Children are involved in and affected by conflict in different ways. They are always victims and need to be protected, even when they may be perpetrators of crimes. “In order to advance the goal of protecting children during armed conflict and ending the impunity of perpetrators, the United Nations Security Council identified six categories of violations – the so-called six grave violations, which  are the basis of evidence-gathering. These violations are:[1] Killing and maiming of children; Abduction of children; Recruitment or use of children; Rape or other grave Sexual violence; Attacks on schools and hospitals; Denial of humanitarian access.”[2]

These violations are not ranked on importance. Some of the violations will have more direct impact on the mission, depending on the environment. CIMIC personnel and Commanders need to be aware of these violations, in order to mitigate any negative outcome towards the mission.

Mission Implications

Apart from the legal implications noted below, CAAC can also affect the Commander’s mission more directly.

It can be mentally difficult, or even damaging for armed forces, to face child soldiers (recruitment or use of children). It can also have demoralizing effects. When the CIMIC officer suspects their presence in his AOO, the Commander needs to be notified, so that proper education and psychological support can be provided. Soldiers should also be prepared on how to deal with the other five violations.

The Commander should also be made aware of the presence of hospitals and/or schools in his AOO, so that he take into consideration these appropriately.

Finally, awareness of CAAC and its incorporation in planning in different phases of the conflict is important to establish legitimacy for the force. Both with the affected local population, as well as with the population back home.

Legal Implications

Picture: U.S. Marine hands an Afghan child a toy during a security patrol here, Feb. 25. Source: google-search/ US Marine Corps

CAAC is extensively covered in international law. Recruitment is prohibited under international law in accordance to international human rights, and offenders can be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Violence against civilians, including children, is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions. This is universally applicable and is binding for government and non-government military actors.

When confronted with child soldiers, military personal may legally defend themselves, but have to take into account the principle of proportionality. The Commander needs to be aware of these prohibitions.

Armed forces/ persons committing one or more of the six grave violations can be prosecuted. It is imperative that these violations, when observed, are reported. These reports can later be used as evidence within the ICC.

The “Do’s” and “Don’ts”:


  • Observe and report violations of international law.
  • Refer children whose rights are being violated to the appropriate IOs and NGOs in the AOO.
  • Understand and respect the mandates of present humanitarian organizations.
  • Support IOs and NGO in the AOO, which have experience with working with CAAC in the mission area.
  • Appoint CAAC focal points within branches and/or units.


  • Do not ignore the proportionality principle when forced to engage child soldiers.
  • Do not cause damage to schools and hospitals, avoid and discourage the use of schools and hospitals by armed forces or armed groups (other than for humanitarian reasons, if they are injured and do no longer participating in hostilities, or need to seek life-saving assistance, for example). Apply the guidelines on protecting education from attack.
  • Do not leave the Commander and the force unprepared for possible encounters with children.
  • Do not allow the use of children as support for military forces, i.e. as cooks or porters. This is also identified as using child soldiers under international law.

Responsibilities in CMI

Different branches outside of J9, like PSYOPS, PAO and INFOOPS, have a responsibility regarding CAAC. J2 provides analysis on presence of CAAC in the AOO. J3 and J5 have to include CAAC considerations into plans and operations.

J-MED has to make sure there is proper psychological support for soldiers dealing with CAAC. The LEGAD has to provide advice on CAAC within International Law, and the obligations this entails. J7 has to provide pre-deployment training on how to deal with CAAC on a mission.

Cross-Cutting Topics (CCT)

CAAC is interlinked with several of the other CCTs.

Firstly, it belongs to the broader issue of Gender. Gender deals with women, men, boys, and girls, and thus with CAAC. Addressing CAAC issues with this disaggregated view – seeing the children as boys and girls, and adolescent boys and girls – who might be affected differently by armed conflict – is therefore imperative when dealing with CAAC. For example, in some conflicts, boys might be more susceptible to recruitment by an armed force, or armed group, while girls may be more susceptible to child marriage.

Secondly, CAAC is also one part of the Protection of Civilians (PoC). PoC is broader in so far as it deals with all civilians, and protecting children is a part of this responsibility.

Thirdly, as the legal protections provided to children requires a working Rule of Law system. The threat of prosecution can also inhibit the harming of children in conflict.

Assessment Implications

CAAC should be included in the CIMIC estimate[3], and in assessments throughout all levels.

These assessments should include the role and situation of children in the civil society as well as the various organizations dealing with the topic. Special attention should be given to the presence of Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (CAAFAG), or child soldiers[4], in the AOO. In addition the presence of hospitals and schools in the AOO has to be considered.

As a large portion of the responsibility to deal with CAAC lies with IO’s and NGO’s, it is wise to share information collected on CAAC with these non-military actors. In reverse, IO’s and NGOs’ will be able to provide in-depth information on CAAC in the mission area, and how to protect them.

Leading Organisations

Picture: Save the Children Source: google-search/ Save the Children

Within the UN Cluster approach, CAAC firstly falls under the Protection Cluster, led by the UNHCR with NGOs like Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, War Child, as well as other UN agencies like UNICEF. The Education Cluster is also important, co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children.

Outside of these Clusters, UN OCHA, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and other relevant UN/EU, or AU, can provide information and assistance.

Points of Contact during the Mission

IOs and NGOs will have the best view on the presence of CAAC in the area. Therefore representatives of the different leading organisations and project leaders of important NGOs in the AOO, like World Vision and Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, should always be contacted.

The IOs and NGOs can also explain in which way they are engaged with the local populace. If they are not in contact with local administrators responsible for schools and hospitals, contact should be established by the CIMIC unit.


  • Liaising with non-military partners to gather information on CAAC and closely cooperate with these same actors in dealing with CAAC.
  • Enabling the sharing of information concerning CAAC, for example CIMIC assessments, with IOs and NGOs in the AOO.
  • Teaching military personnel on how to properly engage with children in the mission area according to legal obligations.
  • Providing information on the civil situation, which includes considering the situation of children as bystanders in the conflict and/ or as active participants in the conflict.
  • Identifying civil key indicators and sensitive factors regarding CAAC, which may critically impact the conduct of operations as well as the impact of military activities on the civil environment.
  • Help with the identification of child soldier recruitment zones.
  • Provide advice on offering protection for released[5] child soldiers against revenge seeking locals and/or rebel forces to re-recruit.

Article is written by CCOE, Conceptual Design, Major Rudolf  van der Kolk


Sources of Additional Information



  • United Nations, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict (Accessed 29 September 2015)
  • Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (2013), the Six Grave Violations against Children during Armed Conflict: The Legal Foundation.
  • Civil Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence (2014), CIMIC Messenger 6(3)
  • Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (2002), Child Soldiers: Implications for US Forces


[1] The Watchlist website is useful and has apps for iOS and Android devices that are useful guides to Children and Armed Conflict. Watchlist is    supported by a coalition of NGOs including Save the Children, Human Rights Watch and others, and this resource is used by many actors useful

[2] The Six Grave Violations | United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

[3] BI-SC Civil-Military (CIMIC) Functional Planning Guide

[4] Often described as child soldiers, CAAFAG includes children who may participate fighting, cooks, porters, couriers, spies, sexual slaves and so on. The list is not exhaustive and armed forces and armed groups in the AOR may be recruiting children for use in other ways.

[5] Children shouldn’t be referred to as being demobilised, as that in some way legitimises the recruitment

Picture: CCOE eLearning Source: CCOE/ Dube


The Annual Discipline Conference (ADC) this week in Riga, Latvia, will review the status of one of the CCOE’s Training and Education Branch main projects – the e-learning 2.0 project.

Prior to this version, CCOE implemented E-learning 1.0, which was established to provide basic Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) in preparation for several courses and as a CIMIC Awareness Course open to all interested participants.

It had been the aim of using ADL to achieve optimum Training and Education effects during the residential part of the CCOE courses, by enabling the students to completing the corresponding ADL module before the actual course. Although the completion of the ADL module is mandatory before participating in the resident courses, the students are the ones to decide when and where to follow the web-based learning products. They are free to split the content into several sections, setting their own learning pace. However, the basic ADL provided only an encyclopedic overview of the content, lacking in interactive elements. It also failed to respond to the requirements identified by students in terms of methods, content and technology to be employed. Therefore, during 2016, not all resident courses had been integrated in e-learning, requiring a review.

The CCOE E-learning project 2.0 is now again being developed by a team consisting of CCOE personnel and external support. It is lead by the Training and Education Branch, which provides support, creates educational products and offers specialized training to enhance the general knowledge about CIMIC. It also serves to enable military and civil operators to conduct CIMIC related tasks in different missions and scenarios. At the same time, the T&E Branch ensures that all courses are applying NATO CIMIC doctrine and procedures, contributing to the lessons learned process.

E-learning 2.0 has been launched in order to respond to the evolving requirements for CIMIC & CMI Training and Education (Adaptability, Development, and Relevance) and to further improve the CCOE’s ADL. The project is managed through the prototype model methodology.

Its implementation has been planned to comprise three phases, preceded by yearly preparation of external inputs (global programming workshops, educational expertise) and CCOE driven developments in CIMIC competences mapping.

Phase 1 started in November 2016 and focused on the technical upgrade of existing systems and the design and implementation of interactive, engaging and innovative e-learning for the CCOE NATO CIMIC Liaison Course (NCLC). Phase 2 was launched in February 2017 and aims to address the creation and implementation of the NATO CIMIC Strategic Planning Course (NCSPC), while Phase 3 aims to focus on the integration of Modelling and Simulation. The expected duration of the E-learning 2.0 implementation process runs through 2018.

The intended result will be a transition from classroom based learning to blended learning (combining online digital media with traditional classroom methods), according to a series of desired results and principles. These are: a modular design, competence-based, focus on practice, learning by doing, the use of behavioral methods – including tasks that require a change in attitude, like media interaction – and the aim to challenge the student.

Picture: CIMIC Competence Matrix Source: CCOE/ Training & Education Branch

One of the novelties implemented in the new NATO CIMIC Liaison Course (NCLC) and the NATO CIMIC Strategic Planning Course (NCSPC), is the enhanced focus on competencies and learning objectives. For each competence, a number of learning objectives has been set. Within each learning objective, there are one or several measurable sub-learning objectives, allowing to identify what the student will be able to do after completing the course. The baseline for course development was a Competence Matrix, which was developed by the CCOE according to the Global Programming Process.

The pre-requisites for a course and its target audience have also been of great relevance for the adaptation and creation of the e-learning modules.

The NCLC further qualifies CIMIC-operators, officers, and non-commissioned officers (NCOs), assigned as CIMIC Liaison Officers, to conduct CIMIC Liaison activities at the tactical and operational levels across the full spectrum of military engagement. Tailored to this specific type of audience, the e-learning module consists of the assessment of the level of knowledge the students already have, as well as of three modules, one for each competency addressed:  Communication, Cultural Adaptability and Reporting. Within these modules, the students are requested (“challenged”) to take short quizzes and check their understanding of the learning material.

The NCSPC course will further qualify senior CIMIC officers, assigned as CIMIC staff officers to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), to conduct CIMIC planning activities at the military strategic level in a complex operational environment. In order to meet the educational needs of a very narrow audience (former students of the NCHCC course), it was decided to build a Small Private Online Course (SPOC), consisting of one Subject Matter Expert and a maximum of 3 students. The course is conducted as a webinar-based training, structured in 5 webinars and 3 phases (or “sub-modules”), during which the students are requested to understand, assess, discuss and recommend on specific situations. The activity of the students will be rendered both online during the webinars and individually. The two competencies addressed here are Assessment and Planning.

The modular approach will continue as the next courses are being adapted: the NATO CIMIC Awareness Course (NCAWC) and the NATO CIMIC Higher Command Course (NCHCC).

Finally, the main changes introduced with E-learning 2.0 have also influenced the overall course design, which is now more student oriented and demand driven. It has also impacted on its content, which needed to be adapted to the rapidly changing operational environment, aligned with the CCOE Vision 2020 NATO’s training and education requirements.

From a course design perspective, it is the primary goal to keep the structure as simple and user friendly as possible. This is done by providing clear instructions, a smooth navigation, an easy access to the e-learning modules or webinars and a  rapid upload and download of learning material and products drafted by the students. In all it has been done with the intention to create a positive (E-) learning experience for the students who will participate in CCOE courses in the future.

Article is written by Mrs. Andrada Balan, Intern at CCOE (Training & Education Branch).


About Andrada;

Ms. Andrada Balan (Romania, 29) commenced with her internship at the Training & Education (T&E) Branch of the CCOE in February 2017. In that role, she will particularly support the development of the ongoing e-learning program, with focus on our new NATO CIMIC Strategic Planning Course (NCSPC). In addition, she will be active in the transfer of knowledge from the ACO (Allied Command Operations) Civil-Military Cooperation Functional Planning Guide into interactive and engaging learning experience for students.

Before joining the CCOE, Andrada entertained traineeships at Europol in The Hague (2016), and the European Commission in Brussels (2014). At Europol, she successfully handled the corporate stakeholder management and cross-departmental cooperation in the Governance Department within the Office of the Director. At the European Commission, she supported the work of the Directorate General for Communication, organizing information visits (i.e. tailored short conferences) for medium to high level groups of members of national parliaments, civil servants, journalists and students from the EU and worldwide.

She is a strong believer in the power of information and communication when used correctly and smartly, by putting effective communication at the core of all personal and business interactions and cooperation.

Having worked for a year for international consulting power house Accenture, she became accustomed to the importance of a client-oriented business culture, establishing trust beyond just contacts as the basis of lasting relationships with all stakeholders.

A dedicated historian by training, she later specialized in International Relations (IR), focusing on foreign policy, security and defence, and diplomatic-military cooperation. In latter fields, she holds a Master’s Degree in this field from the University of Bucharest (2011) and a second one in Diplomacy and IR from the Diplomatic School of Madrid (part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), in 2012.

In her free time she reads about Spanish & Latin American contemporary history and confesses to be a social media and music “addict”.

The CCOE CIMIC Messenger is a publication of the CIMIC Centre of Excellence. Ist dedicated aim is to provide a Forum or platform for stimulating and presenting innovative and comprehensive thinking on NATO CIMIC and Civil-Military Interaction (CMI) related issues such as Mission experiences, concepts, doctrine or lessons learned. The views and opinions expressed or implied in the CCOE CIMIC Messenger are those of the authors and should not be constued as carrying the official sanction of NATO, of any national armed Forces or those of CCOE.

“See you in The Hague!”