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Appendix 7

Monday 9 – Wednesday 11 October 2023 | WP3219

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Working Group 6: Training and Leader Education

Chair: Kate Hansen Bundt (Norway)

Secretary General, Norwegian Atlantic Committee (TAG)

Co-Chair/Rapporteur: Lars Frølund (Denmark), Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Confirmed)

The Training and Leader Education Working Group discussed how foreseeable threats, challenges, and scenarios of 2035 and the changing character of war (based on defence and security implications of emerging and disruptive technologies) will affect national and NATO training and leader education. How should leaders (e.g., policymakers, senior defence and military leaders, commanders, acquisition and resource managers), individuals and units be trained, educated, and developed to best ensure the development and employment of future capabilities, and the execution of future warfare concepts (e.g. Multi-Domain Operations)? What tools are needed for future, realistic training, exercises (at scale), and leader education (e.g., AI and extended reality tools, enhanced modelling and simulations, improved digitization and ICT…)? What kinds of future scenarios should be used to train senior policymakers and military leaders to understand future threats and challenges and how best to counter them with strategies and capabilities? How can interoperability between allies, between allies and partners best be achieved through training and leader education? How can training and leader education improve civil-military cooperation and synchronisation for resilience, hybrid threat and crisis response, deterrence and defence? How can NATO ensure the right subject matter expertise needed in its civilian and military staffs and military command and force structures to plan, prepare, and respond to future war, including leveraging emerging and disruptive technologies and developing future concepts?  What kinds of fellowships, internships, and exchanges should be implemented to enhance talent and leader development across NATO civilian and military bodies?

Joanna van der Merwe (Netherlands), Fellow, Centre for European Policy Analysis

Peter Watkins (UK) Visiting Professor, King’s College London

Tomonori Yoshizaki (Japan), University of Tokyo

Gisela Stuart (UK), Chair, Wilton Park

Mick Ryan (Australia), Mick Ryan Leadership (TAG)



The group is of the opinion that Training and Leadership Education is crucial for the competitiveness of the Alliance. It is therefore the recommendation of the group that:

  1. Professional development in Defence and Security should consider the concept of a “Total Defence” scenario in a poly-crisis and comprise 4 main categories: 1) Command leadership and ethics, 2) Joint warfighting/multidomain war fighting, 3) Strategy and Policy, and 4) Technology and capability.
  2. Institutions in Defence and Security should define and clearly communicate what they require in terms of skills, knowledge, and experience at all ranks/grades (and, preferably, by individual posts). They should properly resource the learning and professional development process with time, money and personnel. The institutional leaders – at the time – must own the whole process and advocate for it on behalf of their institutions (stewardship).
  3. The equivalent of 2,5 % of national security and defence budgets should go to professional development (including education and leadership development) [this figure is analogous to UK national target for expenditure on R&D]. The 2,5 % for professional development should be counted towards each country’s contribution to meeting the NATO commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence.

Core message

Defence and security institutions need a more accessible, continuous, personalized, and adaptable learning culture to gain and sustain an intellectual edge over competitors and adversaries.

The What, the Who and the How

The following describes the WHAT, WHO and HOW of the way defence and security institutions can get to have a more accessible, continuous, personalised, and adaptable learning culture to gain and sustain an Intellectual edge over competitors and adversaries.


We consider four categories of skills and knowledge that are needed – to a greater or lesser degree – at all levels of command and leadership in defence and security (full list, please see the annex A):

  • Command, leadership and ethics – this category include important areas such as “The Theory of Leadership Development”, “Ethics”, “Principles of Command”, “Self-awareness and empathy”, “Group Dynamics”, “Principles of Command”, “Command and Control”, “Doctrine Development and Adoption”, “Organizational Learning”, and “Military and Civilian Planning”.
  • Joint warfighting/multidomain war fighting – this category includes important areas such as “Military and Civilian planning”, “Command and Control”, “Logistics”, “Intelligence”, “Deception and operational security”, and “Stakeholder management”
  • Strategy and Policy – this category include important areas such as “Strategic Communication”, “Organizational Change and Innovation”, “Alliances”, “Finance and Budget Planning”, “Defining Policy Objectives and Follow-up”, “Organizational change and innovative culture”, “Strategic thinking and building a vision”, “Understanding institutional frameworks”, “Strategic workforce planning” and “Resilience with a focus on expecting the unexpected”.
  • Technology and capability – this category include important areas such as “Technology Adoption and Scaling”, “Risk Capital and Entrepreneurship”, and “National Resilience”, “Project management and evaluation”, “Tech literacy”, “Conventional military development of new technologies”, “Cybersecurity”, “Force modernization process”, “Workplace Safety and security”, and “National resilience”.


Importantly, we believe that the emphasis placed on each of these four categories – which collective is the core curriculum – should be adapted in the professional education at five different levels in their careers: Initial, Junior, Middle Manager (and military equivalent), Senior, Institutional leaders, and finally Political leaders. The table below illustrates (with 1 = High Emphasis and 4 = Low Emphasis) how we consider the right emphasis of the four categories for each career level. As an example, we believe that the Junior Manager will need to focus predominately on Command Leadership and less on Technology and Capability at this point in their career whereas the Senior Leader will focus predominately on “Strategy and Policy”.

WHO Command leadership and ethics Joint multi-domain war fighting Strategy and Policy Technology and capability
Initial 1 2 4 3
Junior 1 2 4 3
Senior 2 3 1 4
Institutional Leaders 2 4 1 3
Political leaders 3 4 1 2


We have identified several challenges in the current form that Professional development is delivered in the defence and security community. The critical challenges we believe are that Professional Development is 1) too time consuming and with too much time away from home/work, 2) not taking into advantage personalized, adaptable learning technologies (which leads to a very slow further development of the curriculum), and 3) is still very nation centric meaning that there is no cross-learning between allied nations.

Instead, we believe that Professional development need to be 1) radically adaptive and personalised and thus taking into account where people are in their learning, 2) should be implemented with an ‘entire government approach’ with a specific focus on the development of the ‘mid-career core’, 3) clearly linked to institutional promotion, incentives and desired behaviors.


Appendix 5


Appendix 7

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