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Dr. John Rose, the new director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, greets a German soldier at the school in Garmisch, Germany.

Dr. John Rose, the new director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, greets a German soldier at the school in Garmisch, Germany. (Courtesy of Marshall Center)

STUTTGART, Germany — Retired Army Brig. Gen. John P. Rose estimates he runs 1,000 miles a year — a fitness regime, he says, that keeps him alert and focused.

And despite being the third director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany, for just about 100 days, those miles have trained him to focus on his new job as he evaluates the direction he wants school to take.

Rose has already asked his Marshall Center staff if the institution should change the number of students who attend, and he has tasked employees with finding a better way for students and graduates to share ideas via the Internet.

“We change the present, and we shape the future,” Rose said, explaining his vision for the Marshall Center, which was created in the early ’90s.

One of the first questions Rose posed to his peers is whether the school is the correct size. About 600 students a year participate in its primary programs that help civilian and military officers from countries throughout developing parts of Europe.

Rose said he wants to weigh the values of quality and quantity.

Should the school shrink in size, offering more intense courses? Should it add students, which could impede the quality learning for individual students? Or should classes remain the same size?

Answering these questions, Rose said, has created a “spirited debate.”

Rose could be an important breath of fresh air for the Marshall Center, said Dr. William R. Van Cleave, Rose’s longtime mentor and director of the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies at Southwest Missouri State University.

Van Cleave, who met Rose in 1971 in Germany, said the retired general “has focus, determination, discipline and intelligence.”

“The Pentagon believes, with great justification, that the Marshall Center’s potential hasn’t been fully realized,” said Van Cleave, who ran a similar program for 20 years at the University of Southern California before moving to Missouri.

“They realized the need for some change, and that the school needs to educate students and that it shouldn’t just be a time off. That’s why they put [Rose] there.”

Although Rose knew of the Marshall Center, he didn’t apply for the post until he was asked to by colleagues.

The most visible of Rose’s changes has been the creation of a “knowledge portal,” where through computers and the Internet, current and former students can access articles, translated into Russian, German and English, produced by Marshall Center staff and students as well as reports produced by various governments.

Thousands of documents, he explained, will eventually be available “24/7.”

The resource could be used, for example, by a graduate from a developing country to help create defense policy issues at that country, he said.

He said he expects such a concept to be fully operational in as little as four months.

“A lot is going to happen,” he said.

The Marshall Center recently became a lightning rod for disgruntled employees crying favoritism and discrimination and inspector general investigations, although officials say they have no more problems than any other organization. The difference at the Marshall Center, school officials have said, is staffers appear more willing to pursue media attention.

Rose so far has not seen such problems, but plans to talk to people, he said. He said having open communication will prevent future episodes.

More than 2,400 military and civilian officials from 47 nations have graduated from resident courses since the center was dedicated in 1993.

Retired Army Brig. Gen.John P. Rose

Age: 57

Director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany.

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