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Lt. Col. Holger Eichhorn

MA in Security Studies (Middle East, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa), '22

Lt. Col. Holger Eichhorn is an international student from Germany and a graduate of the June 2022 class at the Naval Postgraduate School. He started his service as a soldier in the German Army at the end of the 1990s. His path took him via enlisted ranks into the officer's career. His previous assignments were mainly in the field of infantry, where he was assigned as platoon leader, company commander, deputy battalion commander, and commander of a battalion task force. All of these positions he has held both in garrison in Germany and while deployed to various countries of operation.

"In my studies of National Security Affairs, I benefited greatly from the exchange with my fellow students from many different countries - it is extremely important, not only to know the different points of view, but also to be able to discuss them thoroughly and together."

What was the most impactful part of your studies at the Naval Postgraduate School?

I was very impressed by the academic infrastructure, from orientation week to support during the individual quarters to the equipment of the study areas and the library. The institutional support through the Graduate Writing Center was also very helpful for me. Learning in small groups with and from highly qualified and motivated faculty was a great experience that allowed me to fully achieve my academic goals. Studying together in a joint, cross-forces and multinational way has given me new perspectives from which I will continue to benefit. The close contact with the professors and fellow students, the numerous discussions, and the excellent working atmosphere have made my studies at the NPS a great pleasure.

What brought you to NPS and why is it critical for allied nations to study security issues together?

Every year, the German Armed Forces send a few officers to the NPS to study. I'll never forget the day I received the news that I would be one of those officers. The expectations I had were exceeded by far! In my studies of National Security Affairs, I benefited greatly from the exchange with my fellow students from many different countries - it is extremely important, not only to know the different points of view, but also to be able to discuss them thoroughly and together. This is exactly what was achieved through the region-specific curriculum, and I am very much looking forward to leveraging my networks with fellow American and other international students.

The world is experiencing an energy crisis the likes of which haven’t been seen since the 1970s, Russia invaded Ukraine, and global supply chains are still experiencing post-pandemic disruptions. How have your studies at NPS prepared you to better understand and navigate geopolitics, great power competition, and emerging global security challenges?

In particular, the foundational courses on international relations, great powers, and comparative politics provided me with the tools to assess and evaluate historical and contemporary challenges, both globally and regionally, in economic and (military-)political terms. This enables me to also analyze future problem areas in order to be able to give qualified advice to those to whom I will work strategically and (military-)politically.

How do you think your studies at NPS will impact your next duty position? How will it impact your career trajectory?

After the successful completion of the high-quality training at the NPS, I will be a competence-enhanced asset for my organization, which can be used also beyond national assignments. For me personally, this opens up new areas of activity, particularly within NATO or bilaterally with the United States.

How has the NPS Foundation and your involvement in NPS clubs affected your time at NPS and in Monterey? How did you first get into skydiving? How did you first hear about the skydiving club at NPS?

In my own experience, the NPS Foundation is an excellent network of outstanding personalities. The Foundation already brings together active students during their studies to intensify the network and complements this skillfully with selective involvement of the alumni network. The focused sponsoring and promotion of individual projects of NPS is also great, but especially the support, both financially and organizationally, of the extracurricular activities of the student body in the various clubs. Here, students have the opportunity to get to know each other better and make friends.

I originally started skydiving as part of my military training as a young soldier. At that time, jumping with a round canopy as an automatic jump. After additionally completing the military freefall course, I found so much joy in this sport that I decided to make it a hobby in my private life as well. The Skydiving Club at NPS is a particularly excellent platform for enthusiasts of vertical descent. After the restrictions of the pandemic, it was even nicer to be able to pursue the common hobby since mid-2021. A special thanks for this - besides the NPS Foundation - also goes to Tom and Ben, who tirelessly take care of the jump schedules and the animation of the group members.

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