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The Comprehensive Approach: CIOR Symposium explores the Role of Reservists

The Comprehensive Approach is a leading framework within NATO, and in this context, reservists are crucial in building bridges between military and non-military actors in the operations. The role of Reservists in this context was discussed among 11 speakers and more than several hundred delegates at the 2010 CIOR Congress Symposium in Stavanger, Norway.
“Our first objective was to enhance professional development,” said Commander Michael Ervin (CA), chair of the SWG. “We also wanted to move the symposium beyond a single product in itself, and create something that could be used in other CIOR products and events during the Congress.”

The SWG strategically moved the symposium to Wednesday, creating an opportunity for discussion throughout the week in different committees. They also created a legacy document, capturing the highlights of the different panels and presentations in a thorough examination of the topic, NATO’s Comprehensive Approach and the Role of Reservists.

The Stavanger symposium featured a variety of speakers and breakout sessions. Topics included Planning and Conduct of Operations, Lessons Learned, Enhancing Cooperation with External Actors, Public Messaging, and Stabilization and Reconstruction. 

“The breakout sessions increased the opportunity for audience interaction,” said the symposium chair. “With four separate sessions in the afternoon, we were able to quadruple the chance of delegates asking questions. A smaller, intimate setting also made junior officers more comfortable asking questions.”

So far, the symposium has received positive responses from delegates.

“I really feel the symposium was a cut above predecessors,” said Navy Captain David Epstein (US), who has attended 29 CIOR Congresses. “Using a disciplined focus on the theme a Comprehensive Approach led to a really effective program. The speakers were excellent selections. I believe we will reap dividends in the years to come.”

For the first time, the symposium was organized by a dedicated working group. SWG members felt this was helpful because they weren’t pulled in different directions, and were able to focus on the symposium planning. They also created 50 planning documents and email templates to assist future Symposium Working Groups.

In addition to Ervin, the SWG included Lieutenant Colonel Coen Brouwer (NL), Lieutenant Colonel Mack Lemmermann (DE) and Captain Tonny Pedersen (DK).

Available for download are presentations from the symposium. At a later stage, a report will be ready for download at

Photos: Henry Plimack (US).

© 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers