The SA National Defence College (DefCol) is making a difference when it comes to implementation of milestone one of the Defence Review.
The SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) higher leaning institution in Thaba Tshwane has taken the milestone one mantra of reversing the decline in the country’s military to heart. This has seen existing resources, utilised mostly in the Security and Defence Studies programme, put to more use in what Colonel Bobby Keller, Senior: Directing Staff at the College, has dubbed the short learning programme series (SLPs).
This year saw four SLPs presented starting with scenario-based planning followed by management of national security and strategic leadership, presented by the United Kingdom Defence Academy. The final SLP of the year was national security and the media.
Each SLP follows the same format with subject matter experts presenting over a continuous five day period.
“Each programme is designed to provide delegates with practical exposure underpinned by a modest theoretical input,” Keller told SA Soldier.
“Apart from attending formal lectures, self-study, syndicate work and plenary discussions, those on course have to undergo formative and summative assessment.”
The DefCol SLPs are accredited with the North West University’s School for Business and Governance. Negotiations are underway to combine all SLPs into a tertiary qualification which will offer Department of Defence members and senior representatives of other government departments an opportunity to earn a tertiary qualification on a part-time study basis.
Another SLP advantage is preparing members for the Joint Senior Command and Staff and the Security and Defence Studies programmes.
An example of an SLP in action saw uniformed members from commander (SAN) to colonel and civilian DoD personnel as well as an Armscor employee and two Department of Environmental Affairs staffers attend the Strategic Leadership SLP.
Participants were challenged to establish “which leadership is applicable to South Africa’s current reality?” and then present a new African leadership model at the end of the course.
“Strategic leadership is one of the key tasks of senior officers. Leadership entails the provision of guidance to the organisation and its members. In large organisations such as the defence force and government departments, guidance is initially provided by identifying the aim or goal of the organisation, the objectives to be achieved and the crafting of a strategy to achieve them,” Keller said.
“As far as the strategic leadership SLP was concerned its aim was to lead and manage our organisations toward a better South Africa. This SLP also empowered those attending to enhance leadership and management at the strategic level across the defence and wider security sector.”
Next year will see DefCol present more SLPs for senior uniformed and civilian personnel.