Written by: Christiane Rodenbücher; Photos by: Katharina Roggmann
Hamburg, 09. May 2018
Marching-in of the honor detachment
Admiral Stawitzki thanking all those working and studying at the college
The command flag being carried by soldiers of the honor detachment
The command flag being held by the new commandant
The outgoing commandant, Rear Admiral Stawitzki
Brigadier General Oliver Martin Kohl taking over the command of the BwCSC
Vice Admiral Rühle transferring the command to the new Commandant of the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College
After almost two years of service at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki was given a dignified farewell ceremony: In glorious sunshine, some 400 soldiers from Germany, Europe and many partner nations, as well as civilian staff of the BwCSC, gathered at the Clausewitz barracks on 9 May 2018 to say farewell to Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki. The preceding months had been eventful and characterized by incredible commitment, with a multitude of initiatives being brought on their way. Within the process of reorganizing the BwCSC, Admiral Stawitzki has set many things in motion already.
Numerous guests in Hamburg
Now, Brigadier General Oliver Kohl has taken over the command of the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College from Admiral Stawitzki. About 400 military and civilian guests from the business sector, politics, science and the society were present during the change of command ceremony. The Vice Chief of Defense, Vice Admiral Joachim Rühle, transferred the command to General Kohl. This is the first change of command since the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College has been directly reporting to the Chief of Defense.
Much has been achieved
In over 60 years of Bundeswehr history and in over 25 years of the existence of the "Army of Unity", the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College has evolved into an integral and indispensable part of the German Armed Forces—a fact for which Admiral Rühle thanked both the military and civilian staff of several generations.
Then, the Admiral addressed the outgoing commandant, Rear Admiral Stawitzki. He spoke of the "long list of tasks" he has had to accomplish and mentioned the reorganization of the Field Officer Basic Course, the new concept of the General Staff Officer Course and the integration of more leadership personnel into the training activities. For instance, more than 70 top Bundeswehr leaders held briefings at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College in 2017 alone.
The list of tasks and achievements can be extended even further: The Centre of Competence for Training, Education and Leadership was established. With the cooperation agreement "Common Campus", the way was paved for a cooperation between the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, the Federal Academy of Education and Training in the Bundeswehr and the Leadership Development and Civic Education Center. This provides the foundation needed to give the BwCSC its new orientation as a think tank.
New course set by Rear Admiral Stawitzki
"In close cooperation with the Helmut Schmidt University, you have paved the way for a systematic knowledge management system that makes it possible to coordinate instruction activities, course theses and master theses of the newly established master's program ‘Military Leadership and International Security‘." For Admiral Rühle, this is a particularly remarkable aspect of the overall package of further development. With its new function as a think tank, the BwCSC will help to improve the Bundeswehr's strategic capability as a whole. "Now, it is important to calmly and consistently continue our course towards our goals in order to be able to face the challenges of tomorrow."
Further development—a mammoth task
"The further development of the BwCSC is a mammoth task and what has been achieved in such a short time since the end of 2016 is much more than we could have expected," Admiral Rühle said. "Admiral Stawitzki, you have worked for the college with your whole heart and mind at all times. This deserves great appreciation. Moreover, it has not only earned you the respect of your companions and superiors but even the esteem, willing allegiance and affection of your staff—in my opinion the greatest reward a military leader and superior can receive."
Words of thanks to the staff
For the last time as the Commandant of the BwCSC in Hamburg, Stawitzki spoke to his staff. "It is you, dear comrades, who shape the present with the best-possible training we can provide to our top-leaders. You are the most precious asset we have. You are the future of the Bundeswehr." With these words of thanks, he expressed his appreciation for his military and civilian staff. Past—Present—Future: "The Bundeswehr Command and Staff College is unique," Stawitzki said. "For more than 60 years, we have been providing excellent training and education." Subsequently, Admiral Rühle relieved the Commandant of his command over the BwCSC. Since, 1 April, Carsten Stawitzki has already been working in his new assignment as Director-General for Equipment with the Federal Ministry of Defence.
Pragmatism and strategic orientation
Admiral Rühle referred to Brigadier General Oliver Kohl as an excellent choice for the position of Commandant of the BwCSC. The Admiral welcomed the new Commandant: "With the knowledge and experience you have gained in your previous assignments particularly in the field of military training and education, and especially with the experience you gained during your last assignment as brigade commander and head of the working group 'Leadership Development and Civic Education Today', you are endowed with a perfect mixture of pragmatism, strategic orientation and experience both in the field of line service and ministerial work—an excellent foundation for your new assignment!" Admiral Rühle added that he considers the General to be excellently prepared for the tasks lying ahead of him. "These tasks" he said "include the extension of competence-oriented training and education to all courses and modules offered at the college, the establishment of the BwCSC as a think tank and the intensification of the college’s national and international networking efforts. Moreover, the cooperation with the Federal Academy of Education and Training in the Bundeswehr and the Leadership Development and Civic Education Center will also have to be deepened. The good results that have been achieved in the process of further developing the college's instruction activities and with regard to the teaching obligations must also be consolidated.”
Excellently prepared for tomorrow
With the change of command ceremony, there is now an army officer commanding Germany's highest military training institution. Brigadier General Kohl, whose last assignment was Commander Armored Infantry Brigade 41 in Neubrandenburg, is looking forward to the tasks that lie ahead of him. "I want to make my contribution to preparing our students at the BwCSC in such a manner that they will successfully master the challenges they are going to encounter as military leaders. For me, it still holds true what the third Commandant of the College and later Chief of Staff, Bundeswehr, Ulrich de Maizière, said as early as in 1964: The foundation is personal integrity, profound expertise and broad education!“
Talent foundry for top leadership personnel
Being the alma mater of all field-grade officers, the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College lays the foundation for the profound and modern training, advanced and follow-on training of German field-grade officers in the context of lifelong learning. Be it the modules offered at the college, the Field Officer Basic Course, the General/Admiral Staff Officer Course or the Capstone Course—they all offer a platform for the professional and personal development of an officer. Particularly in the field of instruction but also in the field of planning, the staff of the BwCSC does an excellent job. In the end, all services and organizational elements of the Bundeswehr will benefit from this work and it proves that both national and international cooperation are the prerequisites for successful action.