War on Terrorism

Monday, January 14, 2013

DOD Seminar Examines Afghanistan Security Transition

By Jason Tudor
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, Jan. 14, 2013 – A seminar at the Defense Department’s European regional center here Jan. 15-23 will focus on issues related to the handover of security responsibility from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan to the Afghan national security forces.

Senior Executive Seminar 13-1 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies gathers 105 people from 39 countries and focuses on 11 key themes in security cooperation and counternarcotics.
“Central Asia after ISAF Transition: Regional Challenges and Cooperative Responses” -- also looks for specific outcomes for those attending and for the stakeholders, including U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command, who count on the Marshall Center for results, said Marine Corps Col. Philip Lark, the seminar’s deputy director.

“The Marshall Center SES brings together the world’s leading governmental and ministerial leaders, diplomats, military officers and security sector specialists in a week of open and frank dialogue,” Lark said. “What we want in the end is for participants to have recognition that ISAF transition results in sustainment of Afghan institutions and long-term international support.”

Lark added that the seminar should help participants see that “proactive, coordinated support from the international community is necessary,” and “greater local ownership of the issues, problems and solutions is required.”

Subject-matter experts and leaders in government will address the seminar, including Kathleen Hicks, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, and Ambassador Robert Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs.

Other speakers include retired Navy Adm. Dennis Blair, the third U.S. director of national intelligence and former commander of U.S. Pacific Command; Mark Destito, Middle East regional director for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency; and James Appathurai, the NATO secretary general’s special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, is scheduled to address the group via video teleconference.

The seminar consists of plenary meetings with all 105 attendees and smaller seminar breakout sessions to tackle the issues, Lark said. The event is interpreted live into English and Russian, and includes four Russian special guests, including a former head of its military intelligence agency and a former state council representative.

“The role of Central Asia states, the Caucasus states and Russia is particularly important in consolidating the gains of more than a decade of military operations,” Lark said. Eleven ambassadors, including those from the Central Asian states, are expected to attend.

The seminar is tailored to meet the specific needs of national ministers, ambassadors, legislators, admirals, general officers and senior government officials. The results of the SES will be reported back to Marshall Center stakeholders for use in decisions about policy and more, officials said.

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