By Glenn Sircy, Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School Public Affairs
JOHN C. STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NNS) – Eight senior officers from four partner nations completed Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School’s (NAVSCIATTS) 12th iteration of its Strategic Level Small Craft Combating Terrorism Course (SLC) July 1, 2015.
The officers represented their countries of Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama. Rear Adm. Miguel Angel Cobos Soto from Mexico was the most senior officer enrolled in the course.
Vice Adm. Carlos Adolfo Thomas Ramírez, commander, National Defense Naval Command Guatemala delivered remarks as the guest speaker and Capt. Juan Carlos Pineda Paiz, commander, Naval Special Forces Guatemala was a guest dignitary. “The delivered curriculum and partner nation relationships built by NAVSCIATTS helps to exponentially increases security around the globe,” said Vice Adm. Thomas. “I congratulate each of the graduating senior officers and thank NAVSCIATTS for helping to make the world a better place for current and future generations.”
The four-week, in-resident SLC course, offered by NAVSCIATTS for the first time in Spanish, consisted of seminar-style instruction giving the students the opportunity to examine the interplay between military/unit organizational culture and the effectiveness of counter-terrorism policy as it plays out at the operational and strategic levels across a range of different maritime-focused units. With supporting lecturers from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation and the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management, the SLC officers were able to discuss key topics with subject matter experts.
The SLC course was designed to expand senior officers’ and/or civilian equivalent leaders’ military education on the strategic theory of standing up, leading and operating a “Combating Terrorism” small craft unit, to include operational campaign design focused on counter-terrorism, maritime domain control and counter-narcotics.
The course of instruction also included maritime security doctrine, operational command and control, training and readiness, organizational leadership, material craft and equipment suitability, logistics, maintenance sustainability, professional military education and maritime facilities and infrastructure.
During the third week of this course, the senior officers travelled to Key West, Fla. and Miami to visit and meet with key leaders and staffs at the following organizations: Joint Interagency Task Force South; Special Operations Command South; Drug Enforcement Agency, Miami Field Division; United States Southern Command; United States Coast Guard Sector Miami; and Port of Miami. The SLC senior officers were given overview command briefs and discussed the interagency coordination and command and control while conducting operations the organization routinely encounters.
While meeting with Rear Adm. Peter Clarke, deputy director, Joint Interagency Task Force South, Clarke added, “partner nation relationships are key in our efforts of being successful in conducting interagency and international Detection & Monitoring operations, and facilitating the interdiction of illicit trafficking in support of national and partner nation security.”
NAVSCIATTS’ SLC course, where students from all over the world gather to discuss shared challenges, also helps facilitate the formation of networks between partners who operate in the same geographic area and face similar problems. This network that reaches across oceans and continents allows for an efficient sharing of information between U.S. forces and facilitates efforts with other agencies and international partners.
At times these networks have been used in the war against terror, piracy or criminal activities. For example, during a recent SLC course, a classmate from Europe was talking about an security issue at one of their ports, and a classmate from South America responded that he had ships from that port entering his country and that was the start of a multi-national anti-smuggling effort. Many of NAVSCIATTS’ alumni also remain in contact with the staff in regards to professional matters like changing technology or training opportunities.
“Everyone involved with NAVSCIATTS is united by a common desire to make the world a better place. Our goal is to train exceptional leaders and generate the ideas and expertise that provide solutions to some of the most serious maritime threats which face governments around the globe,” added Cmdr. John C. Cowan, commanding officer, NAVSCIATTS.
NAVSCIATTS is a Department of the Navy schoolhouse operating under the United States Special Operations Command. NAVSCIATTS trains and educates Partner Nation Security Forces (PNSF) on a wide range of topics including small craft strategy, operations, communications, weapons, maintenance and instructor development.
NAVSCIATTS currently offers more than 20 courses with an average of nearly 1,000 personnel graduating from in-resident and mobile training events annually. Since 1963, nearly 11,000 students from 113 partner nations have graduated from NAVSCIATTS. Courses are offered in English and Spanish or in other languages through the use of translators.