The first module of the first “Regional Strategic Leadership Course” was held in Vienna at the beginning of June. Senior executives from the Western Balkan states gathered at the National Defense Academy in Vienna to train their skills in the field of strategic decision-making.
With its whole-of-government approach, the course serves as a platform for high-level leaders from participating states. In addition to providing training in pan-state strategic processes, it also aims to foster mutual respect and trust, the foundations of regional cooperation.
Participants include senior civilian and military leaders working at the strategic level of public administration (e.g. ministries of defence, foreign affairs, interior and justice; offices of presidents and prime ministers; parliamentary administrations ), politics (international affairs, defence, members of the National Security Council, etc.), business and the media.
A total of five participants will be nominated each from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, as well as two participants from Austria.
Opening with the Austrian Minister of Defense
At the end of May, Minister of Defense Klaudia Tanner and Commander of the National Defense Academy Lieutenant General Erich Csitkovits solemnly inaugurated the course at the National Defense Academy.
In addition to the high-ranking participants in the course, ambassadors and defense attachés from the participating countries were also present. Already the day before, course director Colonel Wolfgang Baumann welcomed the participants, followed by a lecture by Director of Defense Policy Arnold Kammel on current security policy challenges in the EU context.
Strategic leadership process and extensive framework program
The program included joint work on a whole-of-government strategic process in the event of a blackout, as well as visits to the Permanent Mission of Austria to the OSCE, the Federation of Austrian Industries and the Austrian Institute of European and security policy.
The second module will take place in October in North Macedonia, the third module in November in Serbia. In subsequent years, the modules will be conducted alternately by participating States.
The Regional Strategic Leadership Course is part of the Ministry of Defense Regional Cooperation Program with the Western Balkans. The initiative was launched on September 26, 2018, at a meeting of defense ministers from Austria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
It was the first such joint meeting since 2011, and the will to cooperate was recently reaffirmed at a summit hosted by Defense Minister Tanner with her counterparts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia in Krems on September 14, 2021.