Panamanian Security Forces Train at U.S. Navy Training School

Panamanian Security Forces Train at U.S. Navy Training School

By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo
October 17, 2017

A team of top students from the Panamanian Security Forces recently concluded training at the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS). The mission of the Technical Instructor Training course was to strengthen their mental and professional abilities in order to improve the participants’ doctrinal teaching process. “For Panama, this training was done with an eye towards improving interoperability and the professional scope of sergeants and corporals at the institutions that make up our public security force,” Colonel Jorge Luis Escobar, the national director of Training for Panama’s National Police, told Diálogo. “It’s part of our annual training program for enlisted personnel.” The course, taken by personnel from the National Police, the Air and Naval Service (SENAN, per its Spanish acronym), and the National Border Service (SENAFRONT, per its Spanish acronym), took place from July 18th to August 4th at the facilities of the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Guatemala and Colombia also joined the training course in order to train their own instructors. For two weeks, the students who perform doctrinal, operational, and academic training duties for enlisted personnel in their own countries are trained on developing lesson plans, setting educational goals, planning and developing didactic strategies, teaching methods, and effective communication. “This course was of great help for learning the dynamics and doctrine of military education in the United States and for raising your level as an instructor,” Panamanian Police Lieutenant Harmodio Vega Vega, who took the course, told Diálogo. “The NAVSCIATTS instructors emphasized capturing the students’ attention without using pressure tactics or undue influence,” Lt. Vega added. “They simply acted as humble professionals to create empathy and facilitate learning.” The training activities included identifying different technological methods for developing and presenting teaching aids. Other topics included the steps needed for writing evaluations and testing students on theory and practice in a way that facilitates measuring the results of the teaching and learning process. NAVSCIATTS, one of the best training centers Until now, 23 Panamanian police officers have been trained at NAVSCIATTS. The educational center also offers training courses at host nations, using mobile training teams. Over 11,500 students from more than 100 countries have graduated from the school since 1963, according to information from the academy. “The training provided by U.S. Armed Forces educational centers adequately and systematically covers the core topics required to teach, delving into methods of active learning and mock exercises that facilitate learning,” Col. Escobar stated. “NAVSCIATTS is one of the best training centers on the planet,” Lt. Vega added. In addition to the Technical Instructor Training course, NAVSCIATTS provides international military students training on the operation, maintenance, and logistical support of river and ocean patrol boats. “If the student selection is appropriate, the results obtained by the time they graduate are striking, reinforcing their eagerness to share knowledge and demonstrate teamwork,” Col. Escobar noted. “The instruction that I may have to provide will be taught with a high degree of professionalism, giving the best of myself as an instructor in order to leave a knowledgeable legacy for others,” Lt. Vega added. Cooperation to neutralize threats and risks According to Panama’s National Police, control of the Panama Canal, through which more than 330 million tons of cargo pass each year, is maintained through coordination with U.S. defense institutions, as set forth in the Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal. Another link that fosters mutual operational understanding between the two nations is the technological connectivity provided to the hemisphere through the five underwater digital data cables that pass through Panamanian territory. “NAVSCIATTS training for the National Police, SENAN, and SENAFRONT bolsters our joint capacity for neutralizing threats and risks to the security of Panamanians and the defense of our national territory within the framework of our nation’s security institutions,” Col. Escobar commented. “It’s one of the goals of the Panamanian government.” To help with these complex security duties, Panama exchanges knowledge, experience, and training with other U.S. institutions, such as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, the U.S. Military Academy, and the Inter-American Air Forces Academy. In addition, U.S. Southern Command, through its Technical Assistance Field Team, trains special forces within Panama’s National Police and gives leadership courses to its cadets. “All of this cooperation helps to bolster our surveillance capacity for the nation’s land, coasts, seas, and airspace,” Col. Escobar concluded. “In Panama, organized crime, terrorism, and new threats to hemispheric security encounter a retaining wall that makes it hard or impossible for them to operate to the detriment of our citizens and those of our sister nations in this hemisphere.”
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