Honduran Armed Forces Cadets Train at WHINSEC
By Dialogo December 08, 2015
One hundred seventy-six Honduran Armed Forces members recently completed the Cadet Leadership Development Course conducted by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), marking the first time Cadets from the General Francisco Morazán Armed Forces Military Academy of Honduras (AMHGFM) received training in the U.S.
The Cadets – all between the ages of 22-24 – graduated on November 17 after completing 190 academic hours over five weeks at Fort Benning, Georgia. They were trained by WHINSEC instructors in an array of skills, including human rights, democracy, planning, goal-setting, time management, physical and mental conditioning, military geography, and other military techniques to expose them to the challenges of leading a multicultural unit and to evaluate their leadership potential. The graduates are seeking to be promoted to AMHGFM second lieutenants this December.
“At the tactical level, the Institute has been offering a variety of courses which are relevant to the realities of many of our allies, such as our Intelligence Analysis Course, Transnational Threat Combat, our Physician Assistant Course, and our Engineering Course. We also offer classes with wider scopes, like the Peacekeeping Operations Course (approved by the United Nations) and the Joint Operations Course (designed for officials who hold General Staff positions),” said U.S. Army Captain Sergio R. Romero, Chief of the Cadet Leadership Division of WHINSEC, School of Leadership and Tactics.
The Cadet Leadership Development Course is a component of the ongping Military cooperation between the U.S. and Honduras, who have worked together to fight common threats like international drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations.
“Since 1975, we have been building upon the exchange of our Cadets in the leadership course. For the first time, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy are joining in the training at Ft. Benning,” Colonel José Antonio Sánchez Aguilar, a spokesman for the Honduran Armed Forces, told Diálogo
in an interview.
“The Honduran Armed Forces is concerned with leadership. Although the challenges these young men and women face will depend upon their positions, the highly developed skills they obtain from the Leadership Course will improve their ability to teach soldiers on a human level,” he added.
“Being in another country to improve and build on the military and administrative knowledge we acquired in the classroom for four years is an invaluable experience,” Col. Sánchez continued. “There are always Honduran officers studying in the United States; we have an excellent cooperation relationship not only in matters of security and defense, but also in academic exchanges, dating to 1954.”
Emphasizing human rights, democracy
The course emphasized democratic values, international human rights laws, and international humanitarian laws, which Cadets should draw from while conducting operations. Civic-military activities, educational field trips, and social activities exposed the Cadets to U.S. customs and enabled them to forge friendships with military students from throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada.
“This is a great opportunity to be excellent officers in the future,” Ensign Ramón Navas from the Honduran Air Force Academy told Proyecciones Militares,
the official TV station for the Armed Forces of Honduras.
“Our training is fully integrated. During this trip, we will be building upon the knowledge we acquired at the Military academy,” Naval Ensign Julia Castellanos from the AMHGFM, told Proyecciones Militares
The training will help the Honduran Cadets prepare for leadership roles in the Armed Forces. WHINSEC provides courses that challenge the mental and physical abilities of students.
“As officials in the Armed Forces, they (Cadets) will face many situations that will require mental agility, physical dexterity, and leadership. During the Cadet Leadership Development Course, these new additions to the Armed Forces developed skills that would help them know how to react while in leadership positions; went through physical training; and completed a scenario-based exercise at the end of the course,” Capt. Romero said. “This exercise required them to analyze a given situation and to develop a course of action which would permit them to successfully complete the mission. In addition to this, they were given instruction in Human Rights and Rule of Law issues, which will be invaluable to them when they need to make ethical decisions.”
A tradition of training
Established in January 2001, WHINSEC has offered training to students from every country in the Western Hemisphere for more than a decade. Through these educational programs, WHINSEC, which is based at Fort Benning's U.S. Army Maneuvers Center of Excellence (MCoE), receives more than 1,500 service members, police officers, and civilians from Latin America and the U.S. for military training annually.
Honduras and the U.S. engage in a number of cooperative exchange programs, which include students from countries such as Mexico, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. These courses include Command and General Staff training for officers, joint operations, communications systems, tactical operations, drug enforcement operations, medical aid, operational analysis, and information operations.
“Likewise, training units from the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) come to teach courses we request in leadership skills,” Col. Sánchez said. “This year they’ve conducted two training courses.”