“My ultimate goal is to make us all redundant...”

Four years after the inauguration of NCGM, the centre is well established and into its next phase, accentuated by the arrival of a new commanding officer. Cdr Jan Dunmurray, first and founding CO now leaves the command of the centre to LtCol Lars Berglund from the Swedish Air Force.

LtCol Lars Berglund
LtCol Lars Berglund
LtCol Lars Berglund's previous mission was with EUTM, Somalia. Photo: SwAF

LtCol Berglund’s previous posting was as head of the Swedish contingency at EUTM in Somalia, and his experience include missions in Chad, Central African Republic and the Sudan. Working within international and multicultural contexts is something he fully embraces.

     I have always looked at diversity as a means to achieve real effect. Sometimes the effects are difficult to quantify, but the synergies you can achieve by diversity, and by diversifying your thinking, your approach, can make big things happen.”

NCGM is now part of a global network of experts and centres working with gender perspective as a tool to achieve better operational results. In the four years that NCGM has been working, Cdr Dunmurray has seen a huge change in both understanding and willingness to learn about what is still in many contexts a new truth; that gender awareness and perspectives makes any military operation more successful.

     “Today this is discussed among male officers in a way that we didn’t have before. It was confused with equality, when it is really about achieving optimal operational effectiveness and strengthening the military capability.”

LtCol Berglund says that he is fully aware of the challenges that lies ahead, and that he feels honoured to take over as CO from Cdr Dunmurray.

     NCGM has established itself as a centre of competence within the area of gender. We will continue to work hard to achieve our goals, and the day we reach them, we will have made ourselves unnecessary. Then the things we work for now will be an integrated part of all military operations. There is still a long way to go, but my ultimate goal is really to make ourselves redundant.” Cdr Dunmurray agrees. “When we started I had the somewhat unrealistic idea that my last order at NCGM would be to dissolve the centre. It will take time, I know that now. But with the competence we have gathered here, and with Lars at the helm, I also know that NCGM will continue to achieve great things.”