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Bosnia and Herzegovina Minister of Defense visits NPS

Article by Maggie Spivey

The Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Minister of Defense, Dr. Selmo Cikotić, visited the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), the designated U.S. Partnership for Peace Training and Education Center (USPTC), March 3 – 9, 2011.  This was the Minister’s second visit to NPS in less than a year, after visiting the campus in early July 2010.  

The purpose of these visits was to discuss the ongoing collaborative initiative taking place between NPS and the BiH Peace Support Operations Training Centre, the designated BiH Partnership for Peace Training and Education Center.  The initiative has focused on building a curriculum to be taught at the Peace Support Operations Training Centre in three different areas, including “Building Integrity in Defense Acquisition and Deployment,” “Collaborative Strategic Leadership in Complex Environments,” and “Engaging Women’s Leadership in Security, Defense, and Peacekeeping.”   

Now approaching the halfway mark of the 3-year project, NPS faculty and staff leading the initiative had the opportunity to provide the Minister an update on the project’s progress.  Additionally, faculty and staff from the USPTC Program Office and Graduate School of Business and Public Policy (GSBPP) working on the “Collaborative Strategic Leadership in Complex Environments” curriculum sat down with the Minister for a more in-depth discussion regarding their project.  

“The meeting was valuable in offering insight into the role of the MoD [Ministry of Defense] within the state budget process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as its contributions to humanitarian demining,” stated GSBPP Associate Professor Dick Doyle.

The visit also provided Minister Cikotić the opportunity to speak to the Defense Resources Management Institute (DRMI) International Defense Management Course (IDMC).  The Minister offered the class his thoughts on the effects of globalization in the area of national security by looking at those global threats that require a higher degree of interdependence among countries.  He also presented a brief history of defense reform in BiH in terms of obstacles that have been overcome and current issues for the future.  This was the second time Minister Cikotić spoke to a DRMI class after speaking with the Senior IDMC during his last visit.  

On March 8, the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, Minister Cikotić held a brown bag lunch lecture with NPS Visiting Professor Maria Pineda on the topic of “Engaging Women in Security and Defense Institution Building in Southeastern Europe.”  

“The Minister is spearheading an import initiative to accelerate the integration of women into security and defense institutions,” stated Pineda, who is the NPS faculty lead on the project with the PSOTC on “Engaging Women’s Leadership in Security, Defense, and Peacekeeping.”   

“The Minister points out that the integration of women is not just a matter of obvious rights of women, but it also is an economic and security imperative for every nation, especially Bosnia.   The long history of Bosnian women’s participation in activities in war, historically, has been very exulted,” added Pineda.  

“Now, as Bosnia moves towards NATO membership and European integration, it needs to harmonize its policies with European law and, in particular, UN [Security Council Resolution] 1325.”

Following the brown bag, the Minister joined Prof. Pineda’s Global Change and International Governance class, part of the Security, Stability, and Development in Complex Operations certificate program, led by faculty from the school’s Global Public Policy Academic Group (GPPAG).  This allowed the Minister the chance to interact with the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations (USACAPOC) Reserve Officers attending the course and to provide them practical information that will inform their future operations.

These discussions, meetings, and speaking opportunities proved beneficial in advancing the NPS-PSOTC initiative and in strengthening the relationship between the two NATO Partnership for Peace Training and Education Centers.

Posted March 16, 2011


Photo credit: MC1 Grant Ammon

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