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2021: Quarter 4 - September 2, 2021

That's a Wrap: ISG Completes its Operational Planning Project in Hungary

Tally Helfont, Strategic Communications and Outreach Lead

A team from the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) traveled to Budapest, Hungary in late July to conclude its two-year project on operational planning with the Hungarian Defense Forces Command (HDFC). The focus of this Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) effort was to facilitate the development of an operational planning process within the HDFC J3 Operations Planning Department in order to improve Hungary’s interoperability with NATO. The project was initiated in March 2019 at the request of the HDF Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Gabor Borondi, and was funded by the Department of State (DoS) Global Defense Reform Project (GDRP).

Exterior photograph of four men stand next to a statue of Ronald Regan. Two on either side. The men are smiling. There are green trees and an old chapel in the background.
ISG Hungary team members Gary Espinas, Joe Hogler, John Agoglia, and Gregg Jones next to the statue of President Reagan with the Hungarian Parliament building in the background. November 2019. Budapest, Hungary.

Over the course of those two years, ISG conducted a total of five in-person workshops and two virtual workshops. As was to be expected, ISG’s projects with Partner Nations and Allies were interrupted, and in some cases, put on hold due to the global pandemic. However, out of necessity, ISG found creative ways to continue its ICB advising mission by adjusting approaches and building on virtual innovations to develop hybrid models for advising. In the case of Hungary, the ISG team and their Hungarian partners were able to make use of virtual engagements and intersessional work to progress and now successfully complete the project.

"At one such meeting with MoD and HDF senior leaders, the HDF Chief of Staff said that the ISG effort had directly contributed to the modernization and transformation of the Hungarian Defense Force."

The in-person engagement in July not only provided a wonderful opportunity to validate final efforts associated with the project, but also to learn of the project’s implementation and impacts. While in Budapest, the team conducted meetings with senior representatives from the Ministry of Defense (MoD), HDFC, and the J3 Operations Planning Department. At one such meeting with MoD and HDF senior leaders, the HDF Chief of Staff said that the ISG effort had directly contributed to the modernization and transformation of the Hungarian Defense Force. Separately, the J3 planning staff shared with the ISG team that the workshops provided a clear understanding of how operations planning is supposed to be done, and therefore enabled the development of several new standard operating procedures.  J3 Planning Staffers also reported using takeaways from the ISG engagements while participating in this year’s DEFENDER-Europe 21 multinational, joint exercise.

As a result of the successful conclusion of this project, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) Deputy State Secretary for Defense Policy Dr. Gergely Nemeth requested that a similar ICB effort be led by ISG in the areas of defense planning and policy analysis. Dr. Nemeth expressed that this would achieve an “interoperability of minds.” 

BZ to the ISG – Hungary Team, led by Regional Program Lead Gary Espinas, on a job well done!