NATO Defense College receives the “General Gutiérrez Mellado” Award

On 1 March 2024, the NATO Defense College (NDC), NATO’s leading strategic educational and research organisation, received the prestigious “General Gutiérrez Mellado” Extraordinary Spanish Defence Award for 2024 in recognition of its valuable contributions to the Spanish Armed Forces. The award ceremony was presided over by its Commandant, Lieutenant General Max Nielsen and special guest, Spanish Minister of Defence Ms Margarita Robles Fernández.

This recognition highlights NDC’s pivotal role in the transformative journey of the Spanish Armed Forces, and for its mission in preparing Spanish officers for senior positions within the Alliance’s military structure. The award underscores the unique contributions of the College in consolidating creative thinking, cultivating a unified culture, and instilling shared values among all NATO Allies.

The Spanish Ministry of Defence recognised the NDC’s dedication to nurturing innovative thinking, promoting integration, and fostering strategic thinking on matters of collective defence. This commitment mirrors the dedication to training and the principles of international solidarity in advancing security and peace, echoing the values of General Gutiérrez Mellado, to whom this award is dedicated.

In his remarks, the NDC Commandant, Lieutenant General Max Nielsen thanked Minister Robles Fernández for the prestigious award and underscored that “the recognition by the Spanish Ministry of Defence is a true testament to the fact that the NATO Defense College is indeed adding value. Not only to the Alliance, but also to Allies themselves.  For all this – and again on behalf of the entire NDC, past and present – I am truly grateful.”

The NDC courses are aimed at preparing participants to serve in positions within NATO, in NATO-related posts in their respective nations and capitals or in other multinational organizations, by ensuring that graduates have a firm grasp of the challenges that affect current and future global security and understand the relationship between NATO and the international security environment.

The “General Gutiérrez Mellado” Extraordinary Defence Spanish Award, comprised of a certificate and a bronze figure of Miguel de Cervantes, is conferred every year by the Spanish Ministry of Defence to natural or legal persons who have distinguished themselves either by their work or collaborations in the literary, artistic for scientific field or in their professional career, and helped advance the profile of the Armed Forces in the areas of defence, culture and peace.