By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
The Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) demonstrated prowess of growth in its intellectual capacity, by launching the military college’s Academic Journal, at its Joint Graduation of 81 regular military and 46 others of Class of 2021 students, who graduated with Passed Staff Course “psc” Certificates in the Senior Command and Staff Course 42 and Master of Science Degree in Defence and International Politics (MDIP).
The Chairman of the Armed Forces Council and Vice President of the Republic of Ghana – His Excellency (HE) Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, who was the Guest of Honour at the graduation ceremony, launched the journal at the Burma Hall, Burma Camp, on Friday, 20th August, 2021.
Speaking on the launch of the Journal (the African Journal of Defence, Security and Strategy – available online at www.ajodss.com), as a milestone, the Vice President said that, it is the first in the sub-region and only next to the Scientia Militaria – South African Journal of Military Studies, by the South African Military Academy, which is part of the Faculty of Military Science of Stellenbosch University.
The Veep added that since its inception in 1963, the Military College has produced professionals of diverse nationality, career and linguistic backgrounds, who have and continue to significantly influence development on the African continent and beyond, and that it was unfortunate that these contributions are hardly traceable, due to the lack of a dedicated channel of academic communication of the College.
Alhaji Dr Bawumia further expressed delight at plans by the military college to introduce a Doctor of Philosophy Programme in Defence and International Politics and a Masters’ Programme in Security Studies, adding that that would help reposition GAF, strongly built with an intellectual base, and with relevant skills, to be equipped to address the evolving and contemporary challenges Africa faces, in addition to its constitutional mandate.
The Vice President, however, urged the military college to ensure external participants are gradually welcomed into the modules and exercises, since the Center of Excellence is expected to understand the evolving and dynamic roles of the Armed Forces and the need for more cooperation between the military and civil authorities.
To buttress his suggestion, Dr Bawumia opined that, apart from creating a platform for the exchange of ideas between the military students and the civilian course participants, the union would promote mutual understanding and foster cooperation among all the stakeholders, as major security threats in Africa, require collaboration at all levels, to deal with.
Demand for courses at the military college, by other African countries is on the ascendency, making it extremely difficult to limit the intake, thus, attesting that GAFCSC is the favourite destination for many who pursue military knowledge and academics, hence the College has projected that the Junior and Senior Division courses capacities would be increased to 100 each, by the 2023/2024 academic year.
Particular course modules uniquely packaged at the college – the Defence Management, the Conflict and Crisis Management and the Peace Operations – have made the College a World-Class Institution and a Regional Training Centre of Excellence in Defence and Military Studies, as well as Governance, Leadership, International Affairs and Crisis Management.
The Commandant of GAFCSC – Rear Admiral (R/Adm) Moses Beick-Baffour, presenting his 14-months course report to the congregation, said the Senior Command and Staff Course 42 commenced on 11 September 2020, with 82 officers, 60 from GAF, 22 from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Togo.
The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) sponsored 10 of the student officers coming from 8 African countries, and also sponsored the Defence Management, Maritime Sector Governance and the Conflict and Crisis Management Courses, as well as the Counter-Terrorism/Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Courses.
For the 2021 graduation, 78 out of the 81 Military students, additionally graduated with MDIP certificates representing 96%, with graduands comprising of politicians, personnel from the Civil and Public Service, Industry and other Security Services.
The Commandant announced that, in conformity with new directives from the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC), the College has between now and 2026 to get its Charter to become autonomous; and that in the meantime, the College is taking steps towards the introduction of a Master of Science Degree Programme in Security Studies as well as the PhD programme in Defence and International Politics.
Other dignitaries present at the occasion included Mr Dominic Nitiwul – Minister for Defence and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bimbilla, Mr Kofi Amankwah-Manu – Deputy Minister for Defence and MP for Atwima-Kwanwoma, Chief of the Defence Staff, GAF – Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, amongst many.