Kiev, Ukraine (28 October, 2015) - Real-world lessons from military operations in Eastern Ukraine are an important driver of the military education system in Ukraine. This was the topic of a conference held 26-28 October at the National Defense University of Ukraine, organized under the Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP).
In an interview with Ukraine Today - Ukraine's largest English speaking TV outlet in Ukraine - Major General (ret.) Professor Boguslaw Pacek, NATO's DEEP adviser for military education reform in Ukraine, and Rector of the Polish National Defense University, announced plans to complete a first of its kind Lessons Learned Handbook, based on soldiers' experiences in military operations in Eastern Ukraine.
The planned handbook is to be used by the National Defense University of Ukraine to enhance defense education curricula, by incorporating valuable lessons from military operations in Eastern Ukraine. General Pacek highlighted the unique situation in Ukraine, remarking, "Your experience should be examined and assimilated." General Pacek went on to emphasize that it is not enough for western nations to advise Ukraine on the basis of western experiences, but that Ukraine's real-world experiences in Eastern Ukraine should be a major driver of defense education reform in Ukraine.
Incorporating lessons learned into Ukraine's defense education programs requires political will on the part of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Towards this end, on 27 October, General Pacek met with Ukraine's First Minister of Defense, Mr. Ivan Rusnak, to talk about future prospects for defense education reform. Mr. Rusnak expressed his support for the creation of a Lessons Learned Handbook and in speaking about the DEEP program in broad terms remarked, "Thanks to [the Defense Education Enhancement Program], the program is successful, prospective, and effective."
The DEEP program in Ukraine has been underway since early 2013, and features close cooperation between the Polish and Ukrainian National Defense Universities, as well as between NATO, the Partnership for Peace Consortium, and other partners.
According to General Pacek, the Ukraine-DEEP program is the largest of 14 bilateral DEEP programs, and the program has been steadily growing. The number of DEEP cooperation events in 2013, 2014, and 2015 was 13, 35, and 66, respectively.
DEEP events feature faculty and curriculum development, integration of distance learning principles, and "Shadow Faculty" familiarization visits by Ukrainian education personnel to western military education institutions.