By: Christiane Rodenbücher; Photographs: Katharina Junge/Philipp Lenske/Gorch Fock
"You Must Know Your Destination Port If You Wish to Catch A Favorable Wind." Oscar Wilde
A good eye, experience and routine – everything must run smoothly to catch the perfect moment. On this Monday morning in the first week of September, photographer Katharina Junge has only few minutes left between the morning briefing and the instructions briefing to take a photo of the new commandant and the command group, which is to send the message that Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki has arrived as the new Commandant of the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College.
Maintaining contact, never losing sight of the target: Everything the former fireman, engineering officer and chief engineer has learned on submarines since his entry into the navy will be of great benefit to him in his new assignment. After his studies of electrical engineering, he assumed various navy assignments in Germany and abroad and then became a lecturer at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College. In subsequent assignments, he served as deputy chief of branch and executive officer with the Federal Ministry of Defense and until recently as Commandant of the Navy Officer School. Aside from having a wealth of experience and expertise, he enjoys being a leader and is eager to invest time and effort to bring about change. All in all, these are the character traits he will need to perform the management tasks he is required to. "It is a great honor for me and I am fully aware of the responsibility involved in being assigned the command of the highest-level training institution of the Bundeswehr" says the 50-year-old admiral whose interest in history quickly becomes obvious.
Trust and Respect
Actually, the new commandant must have an eye for both the things nearby and the far-away horizon: As in previous assignments at sea and on land, the Heidelberg-born admiral will need to focus on the broad perspectives as well as on the strategic views in his work at the college in Hamburg. The aspect of working together will play a particularly important role: "Trust, respect, true loyalty – all this needs time to develop and it is a result of daily action, sincere talks and discussions over a period of several months. I am looking forward to these things because for me, it is the individual that takes center stage." For the new commandant, command and control and the self-concept are not only a matter of the mind and the intellect but also of the heart and the soul.
Open to New Things
At the beginning, it will be important for him to gain a comprehensive overview of the situation as quickly as possible. The question is: Where are we and where do we want to go? Admiral Stawitzki has started his journey and he is sailing close by the wind on the first day already. One appointment runs into the next: Briefings on the college's structures, the current task organization, the organization of the training and the courses, strategy talks, security policy events at the college, quality management and much more. The new commandant has taken an approach characterized by great open-mindedness, interest and a healthy amount of scrutiny when meeting the people in his new environment and when dealing with new subject matters.
"For the moment, I will delve into my new environment and absorb all new information and impressions like a sponge." This sentence is heard of him often that day. "To me, personal talks are important. I appreciate an authentic language and clear words." This is how he describes his approach to communication. Having gained first insights into the different subject matters, Admiral Stawitzki will have talks with the individual command levels. Speaking in nautical terms, he adds smilingly: "I will soon pay a visit to the engine room, not only because I am a trained fireman." Getting into contact with as many people of the Command and Staff College as possible will be one of his top priorities in the next weeks.