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Official Ceremony of the Change of Command

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On the picture, former CCOE Director Colonel Roel Been handing over the CCOE flag.

By Viviana Knorr.

After weeks of preparation once again a time-honored military tradition took place on Thursday 30 June at 11 o’clock in the morning: the Official Ceremony of the Change of Command happened at the Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence quarters in The Hague between Colonel Roel Been (NLD) and Colonel Wolfgang Paulik (GER).

In an emotively ceremony with live music, attendees were welcome to the first Change of Command Ceremony taking place in the premises of the CIMIC Center of Excellence.

Old CCOE Director Colonel Roel Been saluting to the troops - Copy
Colonel Roel Been.

“Dear CCOE colleagues, dear CCOE friends, yes, I am very proud of what all of you achieved last years. We have made great progress together in developing the branding and the position of the CCOE within and beyond the core stakeholder community”, were Colonel Roel Been opening words.

“Dear Colonel Wolfgang Paulik, today I am proudly handing over to you an organization and its multinational staff which is up to speed and up to the CIMIC challenges of our times,” were Colonel Been closing words before the band played his favorite song: “That is not the Artillery song… I’m sorry for that,” with a touch of humor he remarked to later cite the immortal lyrics of the Dire Straits My Brothers in Arms song.

New Director Colonel Wolfgang Paulik adressing the guests - Copy
Colonel Wolfgang Paulik.

In response to his new mission, Colonel Wolfgang Paulik stressed his commitment to “continue to promote what I call ‘CIMIC in 360 grades’. CIMIC is integral part in every kind of operation, in Stabilization Operations, in Article 3, 4 and 5 Operations, in Hybrid Warfare, in Humanitarian Support Operations, may it be in the strategic direction to the north-east or to the south”.

The change of command ceremony is rooted in military history dating back to the 18th century when organizational flags were developed with color arrangements and symbols unique to each particular unit. When a change of command took place the flag was passed to the individual assuming the command. This gesture was accomplished in front of the unit so that all could see and witness their new leader assuming his dutiful position. He who held the flag also held the soldier’s allegiance. This symbolic tradition has survived throughout military history.

 In 2001 CIMIC (Civil-Military Cooperation) Group North HQ (CGN HQ) was founded by establishing an operational CIMIC HQ between the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway and Poland for a dedicated capacity for Civil-Military Co-operation as a response to the events in the Balkans by NATOs request.

 Since then, the Group consisted of a deployable HQ with dedicated CIMIC units and functional specialists assigned from the nations. The Group was intended to function as a Theatre-Wide multinational CIMIC unit to be used primarily in international operations, including in NATO Collective Defence Operations.


Colonel Paulik, Brigade General Schönfeld, Brigade General De Jong, Colo... - Copy

In 2003 the Group was formally activated in this function with several transformations happening during time.

Although the CCOE is accredited as a NATO Centre of Excellence, its capacity and experience is also available to other international organizations like the European Union, Non Governmental Organizations and scientific institutions. The centre is financed and controlled by the Sponsoring Nations and is not part of the NATO command structure. It is the objective of the CCOE to have as many Sponsoring Nations participating as possible, because this will enlarge the knowledge and experience level of the CCOE, and will strengthen the position of the CCOE as a body for creating (future) doctrine of Civil – Military Interaction.

Colleagues, family and visitors gathered indoors for a farewell lunch.


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