As part of enhancing the national security strategy, the Guyana Defence Force, (GDF) yesterday inked a new agreement with the University of Guyana, (UG) to further the academic programme offered to army officers and ranks.
According to Chief -of -Staff, Brigadier Patrick West, the Standard Officers Courses are set to be improved through collaboration with the tertiary institution.
The courses, the GDF Chief explained, are integral to “Effective Transformation for Total National Defence, an implementation of a national security strategy that employs all instruments of national power to meet the challenges faced by Guyana at this time.”
“This would require a much higher degree of interagency cooperation than obtains at present to combine the defence with diplomacy economic development with the law enforcement and the civil authority with the Defence Force.”
Giving a brief history on the projects, Brigadier West noted that the Officer Cadet Division at the Training Corps of the GDF evolved into the first Officer Cadet School in the English-speaking Caribbean.
“The initiative was undertaken to ensure that a more rounded and educated officer is prepared to fulfill his role in promoting total National Defence. To date 49 Courses have been completed.”
“We will see the officer not only being involved in a horizontal relationship between Defence Force, Militia and police but also vertically at the Central and Regional levels.”
Through this initiative, the Brigadier noted that the Officer Cadet Programme will be almost on par with other international programmes.
The course is set to last for 24 months. Upon graduation, the students will not only receive their instruments of Commission, to command and lead in this force, but also an associate Degree from the University.
“We maintain, today, that we are still the only successful officer Cadet Programme in the English-speaking Caribbean and we will continue to support the training of officers for Joint Services and the Caribbean.”
The arrangement between the GDF and the University is not strange to Militaries and Academic communities since we have been marrying the two worldwide.
“I am heartened to see that Guyana is following. I envision that in the future this collaboration will be further expanded.”
Meanwhile, UG’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith noted that the University can play a role in preparing members of the disciplined forces prior to their retirement.
He believes there are great opportunities for gainful employment and utilization of capabilities and skills of military men and women.
These men and women should be better positioned to take their skills and assets from the armed forces and leverage some additional skills so life after retirement is beneficial, not only for economic benefit but for gainful employment and utilization of their skills.
“Within a year of transitioning and moving to retirement [the University] can help them to be better positioned for gainful economic employment,” he added.
The University’s Vice Chancellor said that a report has been handed over to the government for action to be taken.
The first batch of approximately 40 army officers will begin training next month.
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