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Graduation ceremony for officers of 58th class of Command and Staff College of the National Defence School was held today at the Conference Hall of the "Banjica-2" barracks in Belgrade. On this occasion, the Serbian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff – Lieutenant General Ljubisa Dikovic, by order of the President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, awarded sabres with inscription to three top officers, and the state secretary in the Ministry of Defence Zoran Jevtic presented the diplomas on the acquired title of a command and staff officer.

Major Nebojsa Ristovic, as in the first ranked (average score 9.36), was given a gilded sword, Major Dejan Milenkovic (average score 9.27) received a silver plated one, and Captain Vladan Parezanovic (average score 9.27) a sword with the inscription.

One-year training was attended by 57 officers of the Serbian Armed Forces and four officers from the armed forces of the USA, the People's Republic of China and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces and representatives of the diplomatic corps, teachers, families, superiors and fellow officers.

Congratulating the officers of the 58th class General Dikovic pointed out that we live in the era of modern challenges, risks and threats that confirm that security can only be built through cooperation, sharing experiences and expertise.

- Our goal is that the Serbian Armed Forces is a modern, strong, equipped and organized one. By investing in the military we are investing in the safety of the citizens of Serbia and the region's stability, the Chief of General Staff said, adding that education and training of personnel is a prerequisite for the creation of highly skilled and motivated officers, able to answer all the tasks that are assigned to them.

A command and staff officer is expected, General Dikovic said, to fully contribute to the further development of capabilities of the Serbian Armed Forces.

- I believe you understand the importance of advancement. The way ahead of you is opened for your further career development in accordance with your skills, qualifications and work. Note that the Command and Staff training is not the end of officer's advancement because education is the continuous process, General Dikovic said, pointing out that a modern military officer has to keep up with the spirit of time and study different areas.

Head of the School of National Defence, Colonel Mile Jelic, welcoming those present said that the defence system has now received another responsible and qualified generation of command and staff officers ready for high efforts, major challenges and acquiring experiences.

- By your knowledge and experience you are indispensable and essential part in the process of transformation and adaptation of our armed forces to new terms of engagement at the national and multinational level. You are the key factor in building operational capabilities of our commands and units, Colonel Jelic said noting that today's graduates are starting to apply their knowledge and experience on their positions as of tomorrow.

On behalf of his colleagues from the 58th class of the Command and Staff School, the best in the generation, Major Nebojsa Ristovi?, pointed out that the Serbian Armed Forces has obtained today a new generation of highly qualified officers who are fully prepared to successfully perform all the tasks that are assigned to them.

- I assure you that we are aware of the importance of responsibility and the times in which we live, and that we are trained individually and as a team and that we will endeavour to make our commands and units fully trained and qualified for the quality accomplishing of all special-purpose tasks, and thus contribute to the development of the defence system, said the first ranked in this year's Command and Staff School.

Command and Staff School is an intermediate level of schooling in the defence system, after which the students are trained to command the units at the level of battalion, division, squadron and brigade, as well as staff duties in brigades and other duties in the defence system.

Upon completion of the schooling the officers will be assigned to duties of commanders of tactical units of their arms-service at the level of battalion, staff duties in the brigade-level commands, and other duties in the higher commands of the Serbian Armed Forces and the organizational units of the Ministry of Defence.

In addition to professors from the Military Academy, students were delivered the lectures by Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac, Assistant Minister for Material Resources Ilija Pilipovic, Energy Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Petar Skundric, Vicar Bishop His Grace Bishop Atanasije Rakita, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO Dr Karl A. Lamers, and other foreign teachers.

Teaching is carried out through lectures, seminars, exercises, consultations and special forms of teaching. During the school, students solve a number of complex and control tactical and operational tasks that are implemented in classrooms, cabinets and laboratories, Centre for Simulation and commandant reconnaissance activities and trips.

In addition to these contents, a study tour was organised for a group of students of the 58th class of Command and Staff School to carry out a historical-comparative analysis of Allied operations in World War II in Italy, in the region of Sicily, pursuant to the Protocol on the donation by the UK Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence of Norway to the Ministry of Defence of Serbia.

Within the study tours during the advancement studies, officers of the 58th class visited many units and establishments of the Armed Forces, where they had the opportunity to understand not only the operation of our units but also the military strategic characteristics of the region and the economic, cultural and historical assets of Serbia.

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Military Academy
Generala Pavla Jurišića Šturma 33, 11040 Belgrade, Serbia
Tel: +381(0)11/3603-065; Fax: +381(0)11/3005-190
E-mail: kancelarija@va.mod.gov.rs
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