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Improving the education of non-commissioned officers in Ukraine

Improving the education of non-commissioned officers in Ukraine

A multinational team of experts visited Ukraine in late December 2014 to explore how to meet the Ukrainian defence ministry’s request for assistance with the reform of training and education of non-commissioned officers.

The visit was organised within the framework of NATO’s Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) with Ukraine. The team, which included experts from Canada, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, the United States and NATO institutions, spent five days in Lviv, Kyiv and two training centres in Ukraine.

Talks with the Ukrainian officers and non-commissioned officers showed a strong desire for change but also revealed many challenges for the implementation of a reform programme. Oleksandr Kosynski, Command Senior Enlisted Leader of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, insisted that Ukraine needs NATO’s assistance to reform “now” and had to start from the level of basic training.

The visit enabled participants to collectively agree on a concept for cooperation. Experts estimate that the scope and depth of the changes needed are very large and will require steady support from many countries.

Maj Gen (ret.) Prof Bogusław Pacek of Poland, who is the academic lead for the DEEP programme in Ukraine and was recently appointed as a NATO advisor for reform of the Ukrainian military education system, assesses that it will take about three years to implement changes in the training of non-commissioned officers.

The NATO team will officially propose recommendations for a multi-year cooperation plan to the Ukrainian Defence Minister in January 2015.

During their visit, the expert team met with Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Oleksandr Lytvynenko and Deputy Minister of Defence Petro Mehed, who both underlined the need for reform and their support for the programme.