CJTF-HOA, Kenyan Government Hold First Maritime Center of Excellence Ceremony
U.S. Africa Command's deputy to the commander for military operations, Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, joined U.S. service members with Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa and Kenyan government officials for the inaugural Maritime Center of Excellence graduation at Kenyan Port Authority's Bandari College, July 10, 2009.
Speaking to the graduates and attendees of the event, Moeller said that completing the three-week course was important, not only to the students' own personal development, but also an investment by their nations for its future.
"In my view, making it possible for you to spend this time at the Maritime Center of Excellence is one of the most important investments your nation(s) made," said Moeller. "Your participation displays the commitment by your respective nations to do good things for regional and global security. By investing in your professional education, they have shown their intent to develop leaders with the skills, vision and wisdom to guide their maritime forces into the future."
The Maritime Center of Excellence's mission is to provide operational level training that builds maritime safety and security capacity in order to promote a stable and secure Africa by addressing regional maritime issues such as piracy, drug trafficking, illegal fishing, and environmental issues.
Seventeen students from eight countries to include Comoros, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Senegal, Seychelles, Tanzania and Uganda attended the course. The curriculum was developed by the Global Maritime and Transportation School, U.S. Naval War College and Kenya Port Authority's Bandari College. The course was taught by civilian professors, naval officers from CJTF-HOA, and the Kenyan Navy. The three-week course covered maritime trade and security, international, national and other regulatory schemes, maritime sectors, commercial maritime documentation and certificates, port and terminal operations and operational analysis ending with a capstone assessment provided by the Naval Warfare College.
"We concluded the course by bringing the practical application of what the students learned in the classroom into a war-game session where we give them scenarios and problems and they have to come together and solve them as a group," said Professor Jeffrey Landsman, Naval Warfare College war gaming department.
"The training we received during this course was very important in bringing about partnership and cooperation among the various stakeholders (countries)," said Simon Peter Okoshi, Uganda Police Marine Unit commandant and Maritime Center of Excellence student. "To add to this course, it would be helpful to have follow-up training."
U.S. AFRICOM and CJTF-HOA have a long term commitment to helping African nations develop maritime safety and security. The United States hopes the Maritime Center of Excellence will help fulfill its commitment through collaborative efforts and shared interests of U.S. and African nations to develop new ideas, increase cooperation and build partnerships to establish regional stability.
This three-week course which began with an opening ceremony June 22 is the first of three courses scheduled for this fiscal year. The other two are scheduled for July 20-August 7 and August17-September 4.
The course's curriculum is predicted to evolve over time through multi-national and multi-agency forums and as the needs and interests of African nations maritime safety and security are revealed.
As an added bonus, the students toured the Italian Frigate ITS Maestrale (F570) which was docked at the Port of Mombasa following the graduation and luncheon.