Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers
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Young reserve officers from CIOR profit from a profound military life experience

During the three days of the Young Reserve Officers Outreach Seminar (YROS),  17 members from the armed forces of five different nations took advantage of the opportunity to learn from each other, as well as from experienced senior officers.

The world is changing and becoming unpredictable to the point that one can no longer predict what will happen next. New conflicts and theatres such as the recent events in Mali arise and pose new challenges with global impacts. In other areas of the world, freedom is hanging by a thin thread. At times it seems like stability is becoming a luxury only a few fortunate countries may be able to enjoy. It is imperative that CIOR follows the example of NATO’s active involvement in several missions and prepares the up and coming young generation of officers for their future employments. The 2013 YROS accomplished just that. This year’s annual seminar was attended by 17 young officers and was held at the University of Defense (UoD) in Brno, Czech Republic in March. The participants agreed that this was a remarkable and unparalleled experience. 

Mission planning and execution

The participating nations included officers from Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, as well as Romania. The focal theme of the seminar was the “Introduction to NATO and International Leadership”.

Following  a warm welcome by Arnost Libezny (CZE VP) and BG Urban from the UoD, the first highlight was the former French Attaché of Defense, Col Bucherie, who introduced the young officers to the French operation in Mali. His presentation was thorough and engaging, providing the participants with meaningful information on the background, the planning and mission execution on the ground, as well as the challenges that were encountered in western Africa. Following Col Bucherie’s brief, LtCol Prucha’s (UoD) short overview of the Czech Armed Forces and their participation in missions around the world was equally fascinating and impressive.

 As it is normally the YROS participants’ introductory exposure to an international environment, the young officers are always interested in how other Armed Forces are organized and the types of missions in which they are involved.  The country briefs, which are usually only presented as part of the Young Reserve Officers Workshop (YROW) held each summer, were introduced at the seminar for the first time. Since it is the participants who prepare and deliver these briefs, the young officers not only learned about other nations’ reserve force organizations but in some cases, they also gained significant knowledge about their own military organizations. Some participants, having little knowledge in this area, were surprised to learn that their country even had a Reserve Officers Association. As a result, this new initiative provided valuable opportunity to learn on two separate levels: as an audience, and as presenters.

Leading also means understanding

No matter how many books one reads, or how many studies he or she reviews, nothing is as powerful and meaningful as hearing firsthand from a senior officer with personal experience.  The YROS participants were very fortunate to experience just that. MG Smith (VP USA) enriched the YROS 2013 with his presence. With great eloquence and wisdom, he managed to widen the personal horizons of every participant. Rather than telling them what to think, he allowed the officers to draw their own conclusions based on the information he shared with them. His approach was brilliant and helped greatly in developing the participants’ leadership skills. He masterfully guided these junior officers and motivated them to reflect on their own leadership styles, while pondering ways of improving them. MG Smith also discussed the working relations between officers and NCO’s. “Sometimes an officer also has to be human,” was one of the insightful messages he shared with the young officers.

CSM Kolesa’s presentation on the importance of the understanding of team spirit added further insight to the complexity of officer work. CSM Kolesa’s long term work as the adjutant of several senior officers gave him a wealth of experiences to draw on as he shared his vast knowledge with the participants. He also did a fantastic job introducing the audience to the structure of NATO as he spent significant time within this organisation.

The feedback at the end of the seminar was overwhelmingly positive and reaffirmed the value that is gained through the CIOR YRO programs. The participants recognized the YROS as not only a great opportunity to develop networks with officers from other countries but also as a means to learn new content relevant to their future careers.

© 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers