That education, training and development (ETD) has a high profile in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is aptly illustrated by there being no less than 10 training institutions managed and run by the force’s Training Command.
These, according to Brigadier General Sean Stratford, Commandant SANDF College of Educational Training, represent seven units and three capabilities.
The SANDF publication, SA Soldier, has it that the deliverables of the SA National Defence College (SANDC), the SA National War College (SANWC), the Military Academy, the SANDF College of Educational Technology (SANDF COLET), Personnel Services School, Warrant Officers’ Academy, Peace Mission Training Centre, the Centre for Conflict Simulation (CONSIM), Civic Education Centre of Excellence and the Centre for Competence Development Training (CCDT) were synchronised and co-ordinated as reflected in each training institution’s Annual Performance Plan (APP) during a recent work session.
“Each training institution was afforded an opportunity to present its APP, highlighting what can be achieved based on resource allocation. The classic definition of strategy, which requires the balancing of ends, ways and means, is a skill required from all commanders for presentation of their plans. Special attention was given to risks and implications for each unit and commanders were required to be as creative as possible with mitigating solutions,” Stratford wrote in the SANDF publication.
Training Command General Officer Commanding (GOC), Major General Lawrence Mbatha, emphasised the importance of teamwork, mutual respect and being end-state driven in his remarks to the work session.
“These are three key components in the ETD fraternity. Regardless of at times lacking human resources or funding, understanding what you are working towards and promoting mutual support between units can go a long way to promoting the success of Training Command as a whole,” he said.
In line with its new approach, Training Command has revised its vision which now reads: “World class defence education, training and development provider”. There is also a rider – “to direct, manage and provide professional defence education, training and development (ETD) services to the Department of Defence (DoD), including its strategic partners through designated learning opportunities to enhance force preparation”.
“The winds of change are blowing through Training Command. The role and relevance in uplifting the standard of ETD is unquestionable. Training Command has over the last few months gained momentum and its impact is bound to be felt by all Training Command clients,” according to Stratford.
As one example the most senior unit in the Training Command – SANDC – will continue, in collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand, to present the Post-Graduate Diploma in Management – Field of Security. It is anticipated by the end of 2019, the first group of students will have qualified on a new master’s programme on the Security and Defence Studies Programme (SDSP).
In another development students at the SANWC will qualify and exit the Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme (JSCSP) 2019 with a post-graduate qualification in collaboration with the Military Academy.
Bottom line for senior SANDF officers is, according to Stratford, “ensure you are qualified to be able to access these programmes”.