European Union External Action

Political advisors: analytical skills for mission success

07/06/2019 - 02:00
News stories

Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations are deployed worldwide. To date, about 40 activities outside the EU territory have been conducted within the framework of the CSDP: in Iraq, Libya, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Somalia, to name but a few. One key to success is the timely strategic advice and recommendations given to the missions’ and operations’ commanders by the political advisors.

Geneva Center for Security Policy - Political Advisor Course - ESDC

The European Security and Defence College has provided an advanced training course for political advisors in CSDP missions and operations for eight years. The target audience are mid- to senior-level officials already deployed or due to be deployed shortly. The course is split into three modules complemented by e-learning and provided by three recognised European think tanks and training institutes, namely:

- the Egmont Institute (Royal Institute for International Relations) in Brussels (February 2019);
- the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (April 2019);
- the Austrian National Defence Academy in Vienna (June 2019).

From the over 60 applicants, the best 30 were chosen to participate in this ambitious leadership course. The selection was based on professional experience, educational background, gender and geographical criteria. The highlight was once again the skills training in module II (Geneva Centre for Security Policy), in which the students received training from media experts on interview, communication and negotiation techniques. Another focus was laid on open source intelligence, political reporting and the use of conflict analysis tools.

ESDC GCSP Political Advisor
Media training at the GCSP

During module III in Vienna, the participants learnt about the work of political advisors in theatre. Several practitioners shared their experiences from various missions and operations, including lessons identified from the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). During an exercise, the trainee political advisors had to apply the knowledge gained throughout modules I and II. At the end, 24 participants were awarded with the political advisor certificate, which will open the door to interesting new career paths and challenging new jobs in CSDP missions and operations.

ESDC - GCSP - Egmont - National Defence Academy Vienna - Rehrl
Family picture of the 8th Advanced Course for Political Advisors, Vienna in June 2019
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