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Nov 17, 2015 | Commentary

The National Defence University of Ukraine (NDU) is contributing to change in defence within Ukraine. One noteworthy initiative is the Building Integrity Training and Education Centre (BITEC) established within the structure of the university in September 2014. The BITEC website can be accessed here. The role of the centre is to deliver building integrity courses for personnel working in the security sector in Ukraine, as well as to teach investigation techniques related to corruption. The centre also conducts research in the area of business integrity and corruption. In addition, the centre participates in developing military laws related to corruption.

Current courses include a five day basic residential course, a pre-deployment course for Ukrainian personnel deploying to missions outside Ukraine and also for personnel deploying on Anti-Terrorist Operations (ATO) within Ukraine. Furthermore, a mobile three-day course is taught at military training establishments across the country.

Colonel Olena Holota is a Finance Professor and member of the NDU Economics and Finance Department and also a Principal Researcher for BITEC. In discussion on November 5th at the university, Dr. Holota provided insight on BITEC’s current focus on capacity building. Specifically, the main effort is to develop a more detailed assessment criteria of anti-corruption practices in defence. Second, the centre is also implementing building integrity training into the university curriculum. Third, courses will be delivered to officers in the military General Staff and in the Ministry of Defence beginning in 2016. Fourth, the centre will be developing a business integrity handbook for reference and use throughout the defence sector. Fifth, BITEC staff will be developing courses that focus on addressing risks inherent to the defence procurement process. Finally, BITEC is working with international partners. For example, the Ukraine National Defence University is hosting a conference for the International Anti-Corruption Week (23 – 27 November) with the support of the British Ministry of Defence.

The approach being leveraged in Ukraine is to address corruption in defence at their National Defence University by employing education to systematically and consistently bring about cultural change through education. BITEC personnel receive training outside Ukraine through Transparency International and in coordination with national Western military organizations, as well as NATO. As transformation of entrenched practices will require a long-term sustained effort, institutionalizing a culture of integrity will require a generation of sustained effort. As a critical first step to this end, the establishment of BITEC in 2014 provided a “centre of excellence” with the mandate and institutional capacity to act as both a catalyst and incubator in which to develop training, informational materials, doctrine and policies on institutional integrity and anti-corruption, the foundation for institutional reform in business integrity has been laid. The extent to which BITEC can develop capacity to support the establishment of a culture of integrity within the defence sector in Ukraine, will be the extent to which it can act as a template for other needed reforms in that sector.


Dr. Ross Fetterly is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Security Governance. He has 32 years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces and is currently the Royal Canadian Air Force Comptroller and Business Planner. A scholar practitioner, he has a Ph.D (War Studies) from the Royal Military College of Canada focused on defence economics, policy and cost analysis.