Officer off to US Naval Warfare College

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A naval officer left South Africa this past weekend to attend the prestigious Naval Command College (NCC) in the United States

Commander Lotta Mabula, who was recently in command of the coastal minehunter SAS Umzimkulu, will spend a year at the NCC. This is an academic college of the Naval Warfare College, based at Newport, Rhode Island.  

The mission of the NCC is to “enable specially selected senior international naval officers to develop skills in national security decision making, build strategy and policy analytical frameworks, and gain expertise in joint war-fighting doctrine”, as well as to prepare these officers for higher command responsibilities.  

The NCC, established in 1956 by Admiral Arleigh Burke, then the US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations, is attended by senior international naval officers. These officers represent approximately 45 nations a year. 

Rear Admiral Robert “Rusty” Higgs, Flag Officer Fleet of the SA Navy, says many SA Navy officers have attended the College. He himself was a student. Many of his classmates are now in senior positions in foreign navies.  

“Politicians come and go, but naval officers stay in the navy for their entire careers,” Higgs said. As a result, there is a bond between classmates that make cooperation between navies and countries much easier. 

It is perhaps fitting that the USS Arleigh Burke, an Aegis-equipped guided missile destroyer, named after Admiral Burke, is presently visiting South Africa on a friendship and training mission.