Sixteeen Officers of the Guyana Defence Force on Friday completed more than 14 weeks of training designed to equip them with the skills required to function as Unit Commanders and Senior Staff Officers across the full spectrum of military operations.
The Senior Command and Staff Course (SCSC) include modules which cover a number of areas including Staff Duties and Communication Skills, Military Law, Command and Leadership, Military Ethics and History , Internal Security Operations and Intelligence and Security.
The training, which was conducted in adherence with COVID-19 restrictions, saw participants also bebenefiting from virtual lectures from Brigadier Errol Johnson of the Jamaica Cadet Corps , Commander Park Peterson of the Barbados Coast Guard and Carlton Joao of Banks DIH, Guyana Limited.
At the closing ceremony held on Friday at Base Camp Ayanganna, Captain Jermaine Newton was awarded the prize for Best Graduating Student. Captain Sven Douglas was the Runner-Up Student while the prize for Best Research Paper went to Captain Mirza Wahid.
Chief of Staff (ag) Brigadier Godfrey Bess, in his feature address urged the graduants not to let their successful completion of the course absolve them of the need to continuously keep their minds and thoughts engaged with regard to higher learning. He futher cautioned against getting comfortable in the perspective that functioning in higher level command was routine.
“I caution you each against this way of thinking. There is nothing routine about assuming higher command within the Guyana Defence Force. We have not trained you to be routine. We have trained you to be exceptional. You must be exceptional in your thinking and conceptualizing. You must be exceptional in your interpretation of statutes, your application of knowledge and your manner of engaging and delivering judgements that will enable your command to be seen and understood to be not just effective and efficient but, more importantly, transformational,” he said.
Positing the question as to whether or not they would now consider themselves to be forward-thinking and officers capable of thinking outside the box and who are now positioned to make decisions at the next rank level, Brigadier Bess emphasised that the officers were the future of the Force.
“Your effectiveness will always be evaluated against the depth and the breath of your understanding of the changing dynamics of this environment. You are ready to graduate today, but are you ready for the future? Your capabilities will be fully demonstrated when you hold the command for which you have now been educated,” he pointed out.
The graduating officers were also remined that the Guyana Defence Force is evolving and the Chief of Staff emphasised that they must evolve with it.
“You must be able to see where changes to the status quo are necessary and need to be supported by relevant actions,” he said. “Additionally, you must understand when and how to apply forceful and direct commands and when to engage in diplomatic behaviour, since, the intelligent and astute application of your composite military and academic qualifications and experiences to assuming and delivering in your command, will be your most important base going forward.”
Expressing the hope that the lessons learnt during the course would open their minds to the possibilities as to where the GDF can go, Brigadier Bess urged them to continue to put their shoulders to the wheel to get the work done.
The SCSC is a capstone military course and its successful completion is a prerequisite for entrance into the Senior Officer Corps.