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Decision Making in Complex Environments: Strategic and Operational Challenges

8th Annual Senior Officers Seminar (ASOS)

From 7 to 9 September 2015, the GCSP hosted the 8th Annual Senior Officers Seminar (ASOS) for Flag Officers from around the world.

ASOS is an important initiative of GCSP, offering a professional opportunity for Flag Officers and high level experts to discuss the current developments and challenges of today and future inter-agency and multilateral engagements around the globe.

This year’s seminar focused on transitions in the Middle East and North Africa. It revolved around the overarching theme, “Decision Making in Complex Environments: Strategic and Operational Challenges” and was run by Colonel (GS) Stefan Hinz together with the former Dean of GCSP, Dr. Peter Foot.

This year, the seminar brought together 23 senior military officers and civilians from 17 countries.

The first day, Brigadier General Lutz Kohlhaus, Assistant Chief of Staff, HQ German Air Force, unpacked the complexity of decision making from a senior military commanders perspective. He also highlighted lessons learned from recent operations.

In the evening, Lieutenant General Aldo Schellenberg delivered the keynote speech at the opening dinner from his perspective as the Commander in Chief of the Swiss Air Force.

On the second day, Professor Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Deputy Director and Academic Dean at GCSP, addressed the participants on ISIS and the evolution of transnational terrorism.

This was followed by a valuable contribution by Mr Bruno Rösli, Deputy Head of Security Policy in the Swiss Ministry of Defence, who addressed the position of the Swiss Ministry of Defence regarding current and future challenges.

The seminar then engaged with Geneva-based humanitarian organisations and drew on their experiences with decision making in complex humanitarian environments and their lessons learned.

Ambassador Christian Dussey also took the opportunity to provide his lessons learned on “Decision Making in Complex Environments: What can we learn from history" from his previous position as Swiss Ambassador and Head of the Crisis Management Centre of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

Finally, Mr Vilmos Hamikus, Coordination Officer in the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate at the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels, gave his insight from a civil-military EU perspective.