Chie of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Godfrey Bess, has reminded soldiers that they are the “guardians” of Guyana patrimony and as such, there needs to be a senior officer corps that boasts of courageous and bold leaders.
He made this remark on Thursday at the opening of the Senior Command and Staff Course 16.
Addressing the participants, Brigadier Bess referenced the words of Commander in Chief, caretaker President David Granger, who at GDF graduation ceremony last month had calls army ranks “guardians of Guyana’s patrimony” and said this is an exciting time to be an officer in the GDF.
Mirroring those sentiments, the Chief of Staff said “We still are the guardians of Guyana’s patrimony, including her territorial integrity, and her safety and security. We are operating in the 21st century and you must gear your minds and harness your energies to deliver 21st Century service to our nation and her people. The GDF needs a senior officer corps that is forward-thinking and officers capable of thinking outside the box: officers who are excellent strategists and tacticians; officers who need little supervision, officers who understand teamwork and know-how to build and sustain formidable teams for the success of any task or mission required by the GDF, in service to Guyana; officers who know, understand and embrace the rich history of this organisation; officers who are prepared to build solidly on the foundations of their predecessors; officers who will commit to true selfless service in the protection of our nation and all its people!”
He went onto underscore the importance of the realities of command, emphasising to the participants that they must also understand that leadership was a critical aspect of being an excellent commander.
“Military men may obey the commands of their commanders as given, but military men and women will go to battle with the commander who can best lead them: the commanders who lead by example; the commanders who can be firm but compassionate; the commanders who may seem devilish but who are seen to have a heart and soul. Your men and women will always choose you as a commander when you are courageous and bold and ready to lead,” the Chief of Staff posited.
Brigadier Bess further charged the ranks to be honest and industrious. He told them that they must not be lazy in applying their minds nor their physical strength.
“Deliver excellence and it shall be returned to you in due season,” he added.
The Chief of Staff also explained that the leadership concepts and related exercises to be conducted on the course are designed to develop an officer’s command and control as well as enhance his capability for delivering efficient staff-duty functions.
“These are not only military skills, but professional and lifelong learning skills that are required in your daily lives. It is a challenging course and having the right motivation is key to your success. You are more likely to succeed as a student if you take the time to prepare. You should approach this course with confidence in your abilities,” he posited.
“I charge you, therefore, to be bold and courageous in expanding your learning during this course: let your learning during this course bring you to the realisation that you have only begun to scratch the surface of the knowledge of things military!”
Moreover, Brigadier Bess challenged the officers pursuing the course to become critical thinkers by going beyond the digestion of the materials presented in the training modules.
“You must apply yourselves not simply to digesting the materials presented in the taught modules, but also, to discovering the breath beyond your tuition. You must do that in order to be the quality of senior officers the GDF needs for its future development. You must therefore become critical thinkers. Learn to deconstruct ideas and concepts in order to gain the fruit of knowledge contained therein,” he urged.
The GDF Head further highlighted the significance of the capstone military course, which, he explained, is exemplified by its terminal objective to train officers to function as unit commanders and senior staff officers across the full spectrum of military operations. These are significant functions, he emphasised, which are grounded in the knowledge and skills to be acquired during the course.
Nineteen officers are pursuing the Senior Command and Staff Course 16 which is being conducted over a period of 12 weeks. The course covers several areas including Minor Staff Duties, Communication Skills, Tactics in Open and Close Country Warfare, Internal Security Operations, Military Law, Military History, Administration and Logistics.
Successful completion of the Senior Command and Staff Course is one of the requirements for an officer to be elevated to the Senior Officer Corps.