By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Teshie Ridge
Sixty-seven military officers from fourteen African countries, have graduated at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), after undertaking eleven-month long Senior Division (SD) Course in Leadership Command and Staff duties – which has led to them being awarded Past Staff Course – (PSC) Certificate and Master of Science in Defence and International Politics (MDIP) degree.
The graduation ceremony, which had the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana – His Excellency (HE) Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia – as the guest-of-honour, on Friday 16th August, 2019, had forty officers from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) together with twenty-seven others from thirteen sister armed forces.
The Vice President, who is also the Chairman of the Armed Forces Council of Ghana, stated that the course pursued at GAFCSC has undoubtedly equipped the graduates with the required analytical, communication, leadership and managerial skills to evolve from the tactical platform to a strategic operational setting – skills that would enable them to achieve the highest standards in multifaceted defence and security in the global political arena.
HE Dr Bawumia added that “The need to cross fertilize ideas and share experiences with other regional blocs is so imperative in order to synchronize our interoperability, in the face of numerous conflicts on the African continent”.
Senior Command and Staff Course 40 – PSC – commenced on September 7, 2018 while the MDIP 2019 program (which also had 28 other allied students from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and other private students in the Weekend MDIP Batch 4) started in February 2019 with both jointly graduating on August 16, 2019, at the same event.
The Commandant of GAFCSC – Rear Admiral (R/Adm) Moses Beick-Baffour, in a report to the assembly, stated that the continuous participation of sister African countries, attests to the acceptance of GAFCSC as the military institution of choice.
R/Adm Beick-Baffour continued that “With this success, the College would soon commence discussions with our mentoring institution – the Ghana Institute of Public Administration (GIMPA) to jointly run a MSc in Security Studies and PhD programs in Defence and International Politics, in the shortest possible time”.
During the one year period, the military college successfully run modules such as the Exclusive Economic Zone Management, Defence Management, Conflict and Crisis Management, Combine and Joint African Exercise (CJAX), the Integrated Peace Operations, as well as Counter Terrorism and Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).
Commandant R/Adm Beick-Baffour said that the military college’s curriculum comprises of 3 components – (1) the Core Program (in which students are taken through traditional military or Defence and Security studies – emphasizing studies in Leadership Command and Staff duties – which leads to the award of Past Staff Course – PSC Certificate, (2) the Curriculum Enrichment Program and (3) the Academic Program.
Under the curriculum enrichment program, the college offered the students the opportunity to research into selected subject areas with respect to Ghana and selected African countries – in what is known as the Study Tours or termed the Experiential Learning, the Commandant continued.
The Experiential Learning sought to broaden the outlook of students, in respect of international geopolitics, and to enhance research capabilities of students on issues affecting Ghana and the African continent, and thus took the Course 40 students to the Ashanti, Eastern and Upper East Regions of Ghana, then on to Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
GAFCSC undertakes courses in Defence Management, Conflict and Crisis Management, Peace Operations, Governance, Leadership and International Affairs.
In the Awards category, Honour Graduate (Over All Best Student) went to Major (Maj) Isaac Kobby Boako, 2nd Best to Maj JD Ibrahim, 3rd Best to Maj IK Zigah, Best Student in MDIP to Maj EK Antwi, Best Allied Student to Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) AA Oyediran and the Most Improved Student to Commandant AB Konate.
The rest were Chief of the Army Staff Award – Maj IK Boako, Chief of the Naval Staff Award – Lt Cdr WKN Sagoe, Chief of the Air Staff Award – Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) BU Billy and the EVERARD Award to Maj A Marteye.
Dignitaries present at the graduation included the Deputy Minister of Defence and Member of Parliament for Nkoranza – Maj Derek Oduro (rtd), the Chief of the Defence Staff – Lt Gen Obed Boamah Akwa, the Chief of the Army Staff – Major General William Azure Ayamdo, Chief of the Naval Staff – R/Adm Seth Amoama and the Commandant of the Military Academy Training Schools – Maj Gen William Omane-Agyekum.