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CCMR Facilitates 'A Comprehensive Approach' Educational Forum in Bucharest

Posted: Jul 3, 2015
Scott Moreland - Deputy Program Manager, Exercises

“Despite the lack of universal agreement on a precise definition of a Comprehensive Approach, its principles have been applied in a variety of crisis response operations and it will remain a key element of future complex missions.” Dr. George Hodermarsky offered this observation on the opening day of the ‘Comprehensive Approach to Modern Missions’ seminar in Bucharest, Romania. The Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR) facilitated a series of discussions on the opportunities and challenges associated with applying a comprehensive approach to complex security problems. An audience comprised of over fifty senior interagency participants represented a cross-section of Romanian ministries, commands, and organizations.

CCMR’s Scott Jasper led a diverse team from across the Naval Postgraduate School campus. Wendy Walsh from NPS Maritime Security Group and Alan Howard from the NPS Energy Academic Group rounded out a faculty team that also included CCMR lecturers and adjuncts Scott Moreland and George Hodermarsky. The team covered topics including Multidimensional Peacekeeping and Maritime, Cyber, and Energy Security to provide practical examples of the underlying principles and mechanisms for implementing a Comprehensive Approach. As Jasper noted, “We are addressing a very diverse and senior audience in Romania. We needed to bring the right level of expertise to Bucharest, and that meant looking across campus. Our aim was to ensure that our faculty team reflected and responded to the diversity and knowledge of the Romanian interagency participants.”

Brigadier General Vasili Roman, a US Army War College graduate, hosted the event on behalf of the Romanian General Staff. He shared Romania’s notable progress in developing whole of government approaches to security. “The people you see in this room represent different agencies, but we all grew up together. Many of us were classmates at the Romanian National Defence University, so we already have a spirit of trust and camaraderie among our agencies that I don’t think you will find in many countries.” Despite that inherent institutional inclination toward cooperation, the participants were quick to acknowledge that there was still plenty of room for improvement in the effort to implement a Comprehensive Approach to security for Romania.

As Colonel Pascu Furnica of the National Defence University recognized, “Even when we have a spirit of cooperation, it becomes difficult to work together when our institutions are competing for scarce resources.” This universal barrier to cooperation was just one of many challenges underscored when organizations consider contributing to a comprehensive approach. Other difficulties discussed included building trust, establishing a common vision, and sharing information to develop mutual understanding. Despite these complications, by the end of the seminar, participants broadly agreed that striving for a comprehensive approach is well worth the effort.