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BI ANNUAL DISCIPLINE CONFERENCE: ADDRESS OF DR. GERLINDE NIEHUS, NATO’S DEFENCE INSTITUTION AND CAPACITY BUILDING DEPUTY DIRECTOR


2020 BI Discipline Annual Conference
14 October 2020 (online)

NATO HQ’s Perspective and the latest BI Policy Developments

Dr. Gerlinde Niehus, Deputy Director
Defence Institution and Capacity Building Directorate;
Operations Division, NATO HQ


Ladies and Gentlemen, dear colleagues and members of the Building Integrity Community of Practice,

It is an honour for me to participate in this year’s Annual Discipline Conference and represent NATO’s Defence Institution and Capacity Building Directorate. I also wish to thank you for taking the time to attend today’s online conference. It is a pleasure to join you, albeit virtually, since the conditions continue to pre-empt us from meeting in-person.

Before starting, I would like to extend, on behalf of NATO, our deepest condolences to one of our partners, the Kharkiv Air Forces Academy for the recent airplane accident and the tragic losses. Our thoughts are with our Ukrainian friends.

COVID-19

Let me start with a few remarks about the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on NATO’s work. The pandemic has been a significant challenge for all of us – both here at NATO and at home in our nations. For the Alliance writ large, we have made a priority of demonstrating that NATO can continue to deliver on its core tasks while simultaneously ensuring the safety and health of all our personnel. I think it is fair to say that NATO has been successful at delivering on our collective defence and crisis management core tasks. But I must be honest and admit that our core task of cooperative security has suffered. This includes Building Integrity – as we could not conduct educational and training activities with physical presence. Face-to-face engagements are particularly key in the realm of Building Integrity - due to the unique nature of the work on integrity and good governance in the defence and related security sector.

Progress and adaptation

Nevertheless, it’s not all doom and gloom. We have made good progress on many BI strands of work – and we continue to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

In that respect, let me first applaud the Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector for holding the Annual Discipline Conference despite the difficult circumstances.

In general, I think we need to remain innovative, creative and curious to explore new approaches. Online tools like the one we use today can be applied more. More remote engagements and stronger use of new technologies may help to give our cooperation further impetus.

In this vein, we have recognised the added-value of the BI online awareness course. While the development of the course was launched before the COVID-19 crisis, the course gained extra value under the current circumstances. This is why we are now producing it in more languages. These will include versions in Arabic and Russian languages, and then also versions in Georgian and Ukrainian.
We also put extra effort into developing the BI immersive training – as a very innovative educational tool to learn more about the impact of corruption in operations.
And we are working with experts on the development of new online modules for leadership and audit. Those new additions will further complete the BI online toolkit of educational materials.

A strong and trusted network of partners

These innovations are also possible, because we can rely on a strong, longstanding network of trusted partners – and many are present today. To illustrate:

Since 2012, NATO BI, Norway and CIDS have been developing a very strong partnership. We, as Requirement Authority, are very pleased with the high level of collaboration in advancing the NATO BI Discipline under guidance from Allied Command Transformation. NATO IS, and Building Integrity in our Directorate in particular, is the only civilian Requirement Authority within the NATO family of academic disciplines. This has been a political decision, reflecting the specific nature of NATO BI.

I would also like to thank all our Implementing Partners who have been contributing to shape the BI initiative since its inception in 2007. Without your continued commitment, BI would not be as advanced as it is today.

In this context, let me highlight a number of key developments in the area of BI education:

From the beginning, the Peace Support Operations Training Centre of the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina (“PSOTC Sarajevo”) has been a real BI pioneer and power house. Aware of the lack of BI courses in the early 2000’s, PSOTC took the decision to develop two BI residential courses which over the years received NATO certification and remain an important educational offer until today.

Six years ago, PSOTC also joined NATO BI in launching our first BI Mobile Training Team (MTT) courses and supporting us in many countries from Colombia to Iraq. And like our beneficiary partners, we look forward to continuing those Mobile Training Team courses once conditions permit.

More recently, in 2019, PSOTC also supported the launch of our first Train-the Trainers programme. We are also very grateful that PSOTC committed to support the development of two scenarios for the NATO BI immersive course that we are creating also with the support of both Strategic Commands and our community of practice.

Let me also commend the NATO School Oberammergau for supporting us since the inception of the BI initiative by hosting the flagship educational course “Defence Leadership in Building Integrity”. While Covid-19 forced us to cancel the course this year, we are very grateful for the continued support from Oberammergau in hosting this key course for leaders of defence establishments over the years.

Let me also mention the Regional Department of Defence Resource Management Studies (DRESMARA) for hosting the course on Building Integrity in Human Resources Management led by CIDS. Incidentally, DRESMARA just celebrated its 20th anniversary – Congratulations to all of you!

Furthermore, we are grateful to FINCENT for providing a most valuable contribution to the BI Discipline. And we are glad to enlist the Security Force Assistance Centre of Excellence now among our partners.

This wide community would not exist without the continuous support within NATO. From the outset, the Strategic Commands and Joint Force Commands have been playing a key role to enhance contribution from other members of the NATO family – the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC Stavanger), the Joint Allied Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC) and some national Rapid Reaction Corps.

I also wish to highlight that Allied and Partner countries, NGOs, academia and department heads from other disciplines play a commendable role in fostering and contributing to the BI Discipline. You are implementing the BI Reference Curriculum and mainstreaming it within national educational systems and in other NATO disciplines. This reflects the specific cross-cutting nature of BI.

In this regard, I am delighted to see other department heads in attendance. I hope your presence will contribute to strengthening this cross-cutting approach and linking BI with NATO’s agenda, including gender perspectives, counter-terrorism, and strategic communications.

This list could probably be longer – and I should apologize if I omitted someone. But the wider point I would like to make is that the strength of BI very much resides in its strong network. We, the BI team, myself will do whatever we can to foster our network and our cooperation on education, training and advisory activities, and indeed adapting them to the “next normal” created by the pandemic.

Most recent and next political milestones

Let me now turn to my final point, our most recent and next political milestones.

The BI Discipline is first and foremost a response to NATO and national needs of different nature that are reported to us or analyzed by the BI Team. These are captured at the highest political level within the Annual Implementation Progress Report of the BI Policy. This Report has been noted in June this year by NATO Defence Ministers.

We look forward to developing a new BI Action Plan for notation by NATO Foreign Ministers later in December. This new BI Action Plan will reflect achievements in all NATO BI strands of work including those related to education and training.

The Military Concept of BI in Operations to be delivered by our Military Colleagues, also in late December, will be of great importance in the shaping of the future Discipline Alignment Plan. In fact, this has been identified last September in the context of the NATO BI Requirements Review workshop.

To sum up

Before concluding, let me warmly thank Dr. Lidra Zegali for her work over the past three years in advancing the BI Discipline. Many of the achievements I have mentioned are linked to Lidra’s commitment and dedication to the cause. As you probably know, Lidra will take up a new challenging position in Sarajevo shortly after having worked with us as a Voluntary National Contribution from Albania for the past years. Therefore also my thanks to Albania for its support of NATO BI.
And Lidra, let me wish you the best of luck in your new and exciting endeavours.

In closing, let me underpin that NATO IS and in particular the DICB Directorate is eager to advance the work of the NATO BI Discipline and the strength of the BI network. With so many talents coming together, I would encourage you to leverage the power of the network – and to think outside of the box and look for innovative solutions that build on our collective experience and expertise.

To this end, I would like to introduce, or rather re-introduce my colleague Benedicte Borel – as I trust most, if not all of you, know her. What may not yet be fully known is that Benedicte has assumed since January this year the demanding role as Building Integrity Team Leader within our Directorate. In this capacity she will present the main outcome of the NATO BI Discipline’s Requirements Review. So you are in most capable hands.

From my side, I wish you all a successful and productive event.

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