The President, Ian Khama says graduates of senior command and staff class 10 of 2017should be ready to tackle armed-to-teeth well-organised criminal syndicates that operate in diverse environments.
He said graduates should be apprised that they graduate at a time when criminal syndicates like poaching, smuggling of contraband, cybercrime and trafficking in persons are on top of the law enforcement agenda in the region. Khama was officiating at the graduation ceremony of senior command and staff class 10 of 2017 that was held at Glen Valley Barracks on Friday.
Thirty student officers from different formations in the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and six from allied countries; one each from Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and two from Zambia, started training for the senior command and staff programme in January 2017. They received certificates in the qualification of passed staff college.
Addressing graduates, Khama said elephant and rhino poaching remained the biggest challenge to law enforcement and were particularly driven by the growing demand in illegal markets. He said as these criminal syndicates operate in diverse environments, there is a demand for complex and fluid set of skills and expertise on the military part.
He said as a consequence, these may grow beyond law enforcement concerns to become unconventional defence issues. He said he was hopeful that the course has equipped them with the skills and competencies to be able to appreciate some of the dynamics in this new operational landscape.
He said as they go back to the field, the graduates will face this multi-faceted and uncertain landscape, hence convinced that the graduates would thrive, as the college has equipped them adequately to face the challenges. He went on to applaud the quality of the curriculum offered at the Botswana Defence Force Command and Staff College (DCSC) in the senior command and staff programme delivered in close partnership with the University of Botswana (UB).
“On the one hand, the course provides yet another level of training in areas of military planning and execution that is pertinent for both traditional military operations as well as other forms of asymmetric warfare to include aid to civil authorities.
In other words, you should be able to operate across a full spectrum of military operations,” Khama said.
He said on the professional front, the Diploma in Defence and Strategic Studies (DDSS) and the Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies (MDSS) taken in collaboration with UB added an important dimension to professional military education and training.
“They broadened one’s understanding of how the military and other instruments of national power fit into the national equation. I am happy that since 2014, the college has enrolled allied students from sister countries in SADC as this gesture attests to the quality of this staff college and our commitment as a country to promoting regional cooperation through military exchange programmes,” Khama said.
He went on to remind the graduates that militaries always strive to defend democracy stating that he stands proud when reflecting upon the strides the nation has made especially in the national defence and security landscape. Meanwhile at the graduation ceremony Lt Col.
Ethel Kunda from Zambia Defence Force outshone other graduates by scooping two awards, the best commandant research paper award as well as best in African conference of commandants meritorious award for excellence.