The nation’s military forces and security agencies are seeking leaders with a range of knowledge and experience who also understand an interconnected world. That makes UNG’s mission to produce leaders for a diverse and global society more vital than ever.
In the 2015 U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff report, “The National Military Strategy (NMS) of the United States of America,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs, stressed the need for a globally engaged military.
“The 2015 NMS continues the call for greater agility, innovation and integration,” Dempsey wrote. “It reinforces the need for the U.S. military to remain globally engaged to shape the security environment and to preserve our network of alliances. It echoes previous documents in noting the imperative within our profession to develop leaders of competence, character and consequence.”
Keith Antonia, associate vice president for military programs at UNG, said the university is working to prepare graduates to lead soldiers in uncertain global environments.“As graduates of UNG, our commissioning cadets will have the knowledge and skills gained from their education and training to understand the strategic context in which they find themselves,” Antonia said. “Our cadets who elect not to commission may also find themselves leading in professions with multinational corporations or federal agencies where understanding the strategic context of their activity will be of critical importance.”
The 2015 NMS report also outlines how the U.S. military aims to address global threats by working with existing allies and forging new partnerships. Echoing the goal of the U.S. military, UNG’s growing number of international partnerships provide opportunities for military exchanges, internships and conferences.
New UNG partnerships in the past year include General Tadeusz Kościuszko Military Academy of Land Forces (MALF) in Poland, the National University for Public Service (NUPS) in Hungary, and Stellenbosch University and South African Military Academy. Other possible partnerships include schools or programs in Latvia, Estonia, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, and New Zealand.The international experiences facilitated through these partnerships allow students to elevate their global and military knowledge, said Tony Fritchle, associate director for the Center for Global Engagement at UNG.
“As a senior military college and the Military College of Georgia, we seek to partner with military academies that support UNG and its Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies strategic plans,” Fritchle said. “Our primary objectives are to foster the development of cadet global competencies, language and cultural immersion, and professional military education.”
Other new opportunities include internships with the NATO School in Germany, the NATO Defense College in Italy, the U.S. Army European Command in Germany, and the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii, and conferences in Germany, New Zealand and the Czech Republic. A $10,000 grant from the Olmsted Foundation also funds overseas travel and cultural immersion opportunities for commissioning cadets.
Clay Carlton, also majoring in international affairs, studied at NUPS in Hungary.
“I hope to gain an understanding of Hungarian and European culture and its relation to the United States in the military,” Carlton said. “I am hoping with this new information, and the cultural experiences abroad, I can further improve myself as a leader and an Army officer.”
Foreign militaries have similar goals, according to Maj. Marcin Bielewicz, vice dean for military affairs of MALF’s Faculty of Management.
“The platoon leader right now is a diplomat. It’s not only a commander taking care of the purely combat military tasks, but it’s a kind of diplomat or negotiator,” Bielewicz said. “The officer, who actually is representing the country, also needs to possess certain skills that are not purely military, such as social, psychological and interpersonal skills.”
“We’re preparing them to be agile, adaptive, innovative leaders of character able to succeed in a complex world so that they are prepared to lead as soon as they commission,” Antonia said.