Six students from, Nigeria, Seychelles, Jordan and Sierra Leone graduated from the U.S. Navy’s International Anti-Terrorism and Piracy Course during a ceremony held aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola Dec 17.
The four-week course conducted at the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity (NETSAFA) International Training Center (NITC) provides information on the latest developments in anti-terrorism and piracy initiatives, and equips students with skills to help develop national programs addressing these issues.
During the ceremony class leader Lt. Cmdr. Philip Juana from the Sierra Leon Maritime Force addressed the audience, reflecting on the course and his stay in America.
“The aspect of anti-terrorism was a very enlightening package. It broadened our horizon on modern anti-terrorism initiatives that can assist us in enhancing our security back home. The exposure will definitely help our countries to work as a joint team, and offer more cooperation in anti-terrorism and piracy or disaster management measures,” said Juana. “We learned a lot on the dynamics of modern day anti-piracy including the legal challenges that this fight has to face amongst others. Overall we believe that training initiatives like this will further deepen the relationship our governments have and form a solid foundation for a common resolve for our countries facing these security challenges of our time.”
The course isn’t taught entirely in the classroom. Between lectures the students were also given the opportunity to learn more about the United States and the American way of life by taking field trips to New Orleans, regional historical sites and monuments.
“We all had an opportunity to actually see the American people as extremely welcoming and very friendly,” said Juana. “The course offered us a wonderful opportunity to gain insight to your history, see some of the renowned historic places of your country, and know your rich multi-denominational culture. We observed closely the organizational structure of the security network; it’s functioning and its contribution not only in the interest of the United States, but also its contributions towards creating and achieving a better security environment for the world on sea and on land.”
The International Anti-Terrorism and Piracy Course is designed to foster maritime partnerships, and relationships throughout the 21st century. It supports the evolving state of continual maritime readiness across the globe by the U.S. Navy and its international partners, and is in line with Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead’s goal of cooperating effectively with navies around the world.
“We feel more educated, more knowledgeable, and more confident to handle anti-terrorism and piracy and any disaster management with professionalism and enhanced commitment. This will definitely help our countries to work as a joint team, offer more cooperation in anti-terrorism and piracy or disaster management measures,” said Juana.
The next IATP course convenes Feb 2011.