Experts call for overhaul of Ghana’s military training programmes

Dr. Kwesi Aning

Panelists at a military leadership discourse have called for the overhaul of the officer training programmes of the Ghana Military Academy (GMA) to reflect current trends in the global security sphere.

They argue that the interface between defence and development, coupled with the ever-changing security environment, demanded significant investment in military training and the constant evaluation of training needs to produce quality leadership for the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

The panelists advocated the upgrading of the GMA to an undergraduate facility to make training multi-disciplinary to enhance the quality of materials churned from that institution.

They have also called for constant dialogue between political and military leadership to enable the former appreciate the workings and requirements of the latter.

The panelists were speaking in Accra at the GMA’s Golden Jubilee Panel Discussion on the topic “Turning out Quality Military Leaders in the 21st Century: A re-appraisal of leadership Training in the Ghana Armed Forces”.

The event, forming part of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the GMA, was attended by Former Nigerian President, General Olusegun Obasanjo, the Defence Minister Lt. Gen Joseph Smith, the military high command, alumni of that institution, government functionaries, Parliamentarians, Diplomatic Corps, representatives of other security agencies, senior military officers, a cross section of people from the civil stream.

The GMA has over this period trained over 3,000 military officers, with a significant number of them coming from other African countries, some of whom have excelled not only in their military carriers but in governance in their respective countries.

Mr Emmanuel Kwesi Ennin, Director of Research of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, noted that with Ghana’s reputation in peacekeeping and the country’s stance in contributing regional security initiatives, the success of future endeavours depended on the ability of its armed forces “to adapt to highly demanding request and operational challenges in far-off countries”.

This, he said called for higher investment in leadership developments, recommending a more human relations-movement oriented leadership training to turn out quality leadership for the GAF.

Mr Ennin said, the GMA should continue to review its training programmes and seek to introduce appropriate modules to promote individual leadership skills.

Additionally, the Academy should invest in research and innovation to reinforce the quality of its services, and to collaborate with other militaries to keep abreast with trends.

Mr Ennin called for increase in partnership between the military and civil society, particularly the academia, to position products of the GMA to relate better with political leadership.

He underscored the importance of mentoring programmes to groom leaders for the future of the military.

Rear Admiral Jonathan Adoko (rtd), a former Commandant of the Military Academy and Training Schools of the GAF, called for benchmarks in the training of military officers because the present system of training was in adequate.

He proposed that the GMA be upgraded to an undergraduate institution in order to achieve the aim of producing professionally sound officers, who would be academically, morally and physically prepared to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Rear Admiral Adoko (rtd) said “The professional training in leadership, communications, fitness and many other skills at GMA should help officers and GAF achieve their tactical superiority and win battles.

“The GMA as a University is just about the only way forward to prepare the officers for the challenge of the 21st century”.

Alumni of the GMA, who participated in the event, called for the inculcation of military subordination to civilian leadership, insisting on the continuous democratization of military to ensure internal stability.

They also insisted on the moral and intellectual development of the military officer to improve the overall quality of leadership obtained from the GMA.

The climax of the celebration would be the Golden Jubilee Graduation Parade at the GMA parade grounds on September 3, 2010 and a non-denominational church service at the Burma hall on September 5, 2010.

Source: GNA

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