Irish Times

Army officers to study peace leadership programme

SOME 25 senior officers with the Defence Forces will return to college this morning to learn how to cope with new demands facing them in countries where peace has been established.

NUI Maynooth is running the doctoral-level strategic leadership course which was specifically designed for senior officers such as colonels and lieutenant colonels. It is the first course of its type to be run in the State and it highlights the changing role of Irish soldiers who now find themselves working in multinational peace support, crisis management and humanitarian relief operations throughout the world.

Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lt Gen Dermot Earley said the business of commanding had changed in recent years. “In operations where peace has been established, the next priority is rebuilding the state. The Defence Forces are playing a leadership role in many areas with local civilian leaders, the World Bank, political advisors, economists, and NGOs [nongovernmental organisations],” he said.

The skills used to establish peace were not adequate in these new circumstances, Lt Gen Earley added. “The aim of this course is to further develop senior officers with the skills and the mindset necessary to take on the challenges associated with rebuilding states.”

The intensive three-week course will help officers working on operations in Chad, Congo, Kosovo, Lebanon and Bosnia. The Defence Forces expects that many of the leaders and commanders of at home and overseas will come from the pool of officers who attend this and later courses.

The course will be primarily taught at the Curragh and led by Prof Ann Ryan and Dr Robert Galavan from NUI Maynooth. Course lecturers will include the sociologist Anthony Giddens and Alan Dukes, director general of the Institute of International and European Affairs.