NATO: allies and Alliance partners join forces to strengthen the professionalisation of NCOs

SPLIT. In recent days, the Croatian Ministry of Defence hosted the second annual conference of NCO academies and schools, in cooperation with NATO’s international staff and the Partnership for Peace Consortium.

The event in Split, Croatia, marked an important step in the process of further professionalising NCOs among NATO allies and partners and confirmed the indispensable role NCOs play in modern military operations.

In his opening address, Tom Goffus, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations, said: “A strong, vibrant and innovative NCO corps is the hallmark and driver of successful Western, modern and democratic militaries. Since 2009, as part of the Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP), NCO professional development teams have assisted partner nations to improve the capabilities and effectiveness of NCO professional corps through education and training”.

Allies and Alliance partners join forces to strengthen the professionalisation of NCOs

Goffus added: “In response to increasing demand, we are introducing the NCO School Instructor Development Curriculum, with the intent to establish, develop or supplement professional development courses for NCO school instructors”.

Major General Slaven Zdilar, Commandant of the Croatian Defence Academy, reiterated Croatia’s commitment to support NATO’s efforts to develop NCOs in allied and partner countries, emphasising that professional NCOs are the backbone of modern and interoperable allied militaries.

Multinational NCOs and professional military education experts shared views on various topics, including the implementation of the Instructor Development Guide, the roles, responsibilities and career advancement of NCOs, and the appointment and responsibilities of NCO school commanders.

Discussions were based on real experiences, including those of Ukrainian NCOs, who offered valuable lessons from the front line.