Written by: Eggo Rettmer; Photos by: Lene Bartel
Hamburg, 27 September 2018
Major General Oliver Kohl handing over the directorate
Rear Admiral Karsten Schneider looking back on his six years at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College
Brigadier General Boris Nannt welcoming Colonel Holger Neumann
Colonel Holger Neumann with his family during the reception
“I am happy to entrust our future military leaders to you.” With these words, Major General Oliver Kohl, Commandant of the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, welcomed the new Director Training and Education, Colonel (GS) Holger Neumann to his new post. As part of a hand-over ceremony, General Kohl bid farewell to the previous Director Training and Education, Rear Admiral Karsten Schneider and handed this task over to Colonel Neumann.
“Time to say goodbye in Hamburg”
There is a stiff breeze in the air as Admiral Schneider reports for the last time in front of 250 attending soldiers and 100 guests from the Command and Staff College. Since 2012, he has been actively involved in shaping the training and education at the Command and Staff College. “One third of Bundeswehr staff officers who are active today have undergone basic, advanced and follow-on training under Admiral Schneider,” notes General Kohl.
“This means ‘see you sometime’”
For the past 60 years, the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College in Hamburg has been dedicated to preparing military top-level personnel for demanding tasks in the armed forces, in NATO, in the European Union and in the United Nations. The core task is to provide initial and continuing education and training to professionally experienced officers from Germany and abroad.
Training and education are undergoing change
“The general/admiral staff officer insists on actions being taken. But, this also means identifying one’s own mistakes first when something goes wrong.” According to General Kohl, the general/admiral staff officer must always keep in mind the overall picture: “You have to exude an air of calm to win the soldiers’ trust and to be able to lead,” was his message in the second picture.
Since 2016, the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College has had a new, extended mission. Admiral Schneider summarized this mission as follows, “Instead of focusing on the dissemination of knowledge alone, the development of military leaders comes to the fore.” He added, “We have organized the expertise of teachers and students in a think tank (the German Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies, GIDS) for the Bundeswehr and its political leadership.”
Working together to shape the change
This new mission fundamentally changes the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College. In the future, Colonel (GS) Neumann as the new Director Training and Education will shape this development together with Brigadier General Boris Nannt, Director Strategic Affairs and Faculties. “With our training and education, we share the responsibility for ensuring that our soldiers can prevail at the sharp end of our profession,” Major General Kohl emphasized.
Brigadier General Boris Nannt, Director Strategic Affairs and Faculties, has known Colonel Neumann for many years and bid him a warm welcome. “I am looking forward to working with you,” said General Nannt. “In order to advance and further develop training and education, it is crucial that the directorates are marching in step.”
In a city full of fond memories
Almost 20 years ago, Colonel Neumann came to know and love the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College and Hamburg. From 2001 to 2003, he completed the 46th National General/Admiral Staff Officer Course (NGASOC). “During the NGASOC, I met my wife here,” he said. Meanwhile he lives with her and their two children in Berlin, which has been their home base for a few years now.
After various assignments, inter alia in Bonn and Berlin, he led the 74 Air Wing as air wing commander in Neuburg-on-Danube. In his last assignment, Colonel Neumann served as Deputy Spokesman of the Federal Ministry of Defense in Berlin. “I can build on my manifold experiences in the force and from my political, ministerial work,” says Colonel Neumann, “and I would like to share this wealth of experience with future general/admiral staff officers.”