Garmisch Course Focuses on Cooperating Against Terror
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 26, 2004 If the global war on terrorism is going to be more than lip service to an ideal, then countries are going to have to learn to work together.
That's the impetus behind a new course being offered at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany.
The Program on Terrorism and Security Studies is the brainchild of retired Marine Col. Andrew Nichols "Nick" Pratt. He said the idea for the course came after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America, and is an effort to bring the Marshall Center courses in line with current terrorist threats.
Defense officials have repeatedly stated that the United States cannot win the global war on terrorism by itself. "We're not going to win this war by dealing with other nations on a one-on-one basis," Pratt said during a Pentagon interview. "We need to have an international cooperative effort, and that means bringing people together from all over the world who have this common understanding of the pervasive nature of the terrorism threat.
"If you have an international look at this, you have a much better chance at winning the war."
People around the world are realizing the dangers of terrorism, Pratt said. Officials understand that terrorists' reach is global and that many terrorists are seeking weapons of mass destruction. "That's what is so different about terrorism today," Pratt said. "To fight this particular problem, you cannot do it with just one state. The United States cannot kinetically attack with military forces this kind of target set."
The course is aimed at identifying and instructing national security officials "to bring them to the Marshall Center and put them through a rigorous course of instruction centered on terrorism and only terrorism," Pratt said.
The five-week course will be held at the center's headquarters in Garmisch- Partenkirchen. The Marshall Center extended its reach for the class. Normally, the school attracts participants from Europe and Central Asia. In addition to this core group, this course will have participants from Arab nations, Israel, Peru and South Africa. "It's an interesting group of people coming together to sit and study the subject of terrorism," Pratt said.
The course is intended to provide the participants with common ground and understanding. But the most important aspect of the course is providing the participants with contacts, Pratt said. "It's a sort of intellectual interoperability that we're providing," he said. "These people will sit together, they'll talk to each other, they'll listen to different problems that each country has. And when they leave, they'll know a contact. A Romanian will know a contact in Turkey. A Bulgarian will have a contact in Tunisia. So they'll be able to interact."
The course will focus solely on terrorism and counterterrorism strategies. Professors will examine how various countries view terrorism, and will suggest ways that countries can work together against terrorists. "The goal is to have a cohort of people who are counterterrorist specialists who know each other, who know the nature of the problem and are willing to work together," he said.
Pratt has no illusions about the difficulty. There will still be countries that hate each other, he said. "But we hope to get past these differences," the colonel said. "What we hope they understand is that the nature of this problem is so great that they have to put aside some of these regional differences and work together in a common effort."
The course is set to begin June 25. The money for many of the participants to attend comes from $20 million administered by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict.
The course will be held yearly and will expand to the other regional security centers for the Asia-Pacific region, Africa, the Western Hemisphere and the Near East and South Asia region in the next year, Pratt said.