| Hakim Hayat |
THIRTY-TWO military and law enforcement officers from Brunei and abroad started attending the 8th Command and Staff Course, hosted by the Defence Academy Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF).
The 40-week course was launched yesterday by Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih bin Abdullah, Commander of the RBAF, in a ceremony held at the Defence Academy RBAF in Kampong Tanah Jambu.
This year, the course is joined by military officers from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Several officers from the Royal Brunei Police Force and the Internal Security Department (ISD) are also participating.
The course, delivered in partnership with New Zealand’s Massey University, aims to broaden the professional and academic knowledge, while developing the leadership, analytical and communication skills of mid-level officers to prepare them for higher command and staff appointments.
In his speech, the RBAF Commander said that contemporary military forces across the globe are faced with complex and unpredictable threats that are constantly evolving.
“Some of these threats are beyond our control and cannot be resolved simply by force, such as climate change and natural disasters. Hence, in addressing the changing situation, we must adapt ourselves first,” he said.
The RBAF Commander also stressed that these challenges must be taken as opportunities to become more flexible and to develop resilience.
“It is crucial to equip military officers with the right military knowledge, enhanced competence in operational planning, and more importantly, to prepare them to be 21st Century literate, which is part of the curriculum of the RBAF Command and Staff Course,” he added.
“I hope that the course can serve as a platform to enhance partnerships and relationships among all participants, while helping to broaden understanding and knowledge on global security challenges, mainly through the sharing of experiences.
“By leveraging networks with one another, it will benefit the effective management of security challenges and contribute to the cooperation, peace and stability across the regions and beyond.”
For the first time since its inception, the course is accommodating a participant from Saudi Arabia.
Lieutenant Commander Sultan Fahad Al-Qabtani, who is currently serving in the Eastern Fleet of the Naval Aviation Group under the Royal Saudi Naval Force, expressed his gratitude to the Brunei Government and the Defence Academy RBAF for allowing him to be part of the prestigious course.
“It is an honour, especially given that I am the first Saudi army officer to join the course,” he told the Bulletin. “Insya Allah, I will do my best to represent my country and our defence forces. I hope to gain more knowledge on strategic and operational levels, and to gain leadership skills.”
Lieutenant Commander Sultan Fahad also expressed his affinity for Brunei, which he said made him feel at home, despite being many miles away from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, 740 Major Haji Mohammad Ezan Sazali bin Haji Osman, who has been serving for 14 years in the RBAF, also expressed gratitude at being chosen, saying that he is ready to take on the demanding round of research and group projects.
“But of course, along the way, what I expect to gain or take away is the friendship network with the other military personnel,” he said.
“At the same time, this should be beneficial in terms of personal development to shape us into better and more professional military officers.”