Rob Nickolson – Beeing a Syndicate Coach at the CCOE CIMIC Liaison Course

This was my 2nd time acting as a Syndicate Coach during the CCOE’s NATO CIMIC Liaison Course. Having previously served at the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS) at Fort Bragg/ US as the First Sergeant for the Civil Affairs Qualification Course, I try to bring my background and training to enrich both the course and the students experience. I hope to provide a better understanding of engagements and techniques to utilize when we conduct the practical applications during the course.

The US Civil Affairs (CA) / NATO CIMIC relationship is vital in order to standardize our interactions and training across the NATO enterprise. We – CA and CIMIC – are the elements responsible for operating in a culturally diverse landscape. These courses assist in bringing our own elements together and we have approximately 10 slots for international students in the CA Course each class.

In my last course at the CCOE, we had attendees from 13 different Nations! The reach of the CCOE continues to grow. The relationships and connections made during the courses at the CCOE in The Hague, allow us to build a larger network across the theater, and gain a better understanding of how we all work together – civilians, International Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and soldiers. It is imperative that we work together and understand that the mission is similar and that we share common goals. The main differences is some of the wording or phrasing which each doctrine utilizes, but the core mission is the same.

Going forward, I hope to see the US involvement with the CCOE grow. This will assist in bridging the two doctrines better. Each Nation has its own doctrine, but there is one NATO doctrine. In the future, I do not see many scenarios where we would not serve together. As a large force of NCOs and Officers that deal with the civilian domain, it would be a travesty not to be heavily involved in the force generating and training which the CCOE provides across the spectrum of NATO-allies and partners.

I look forward to continuing to work with the CCOE, and be able to bridge the divide in training. See you again in The Hague!

Rob Nickolson during the instructor meeting for the NATO CIMIC Liaison Course