Peruvian War College Trains Future Military Leaders
By Geraldine Cook/Diálogo March 29, 2018Prominent military officers who have shaped Peru’s history passed through the halls of the Peruvian Army War College Graduate School (ESGE-EPG, in Spanish). Its grounds bore witness to the rise of countless Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Police officers.
“Our mission is to train General Staff officers and commanders for new challenges—not just military challenges, but also those the country experiences today,” said Peruvian Army Brigadier General Rafael Segundo Pereyra Grande, director of ESGE-EPG. “The college, which stands for more than a century, educated more than 4,000 General Staff officers, training them in the art of war, of course, but also in new challenges and threats such as terrorism, narcotrafficking, and [illegal] logging, among others.”
ESGE-EPG’s academic reach transcends national borders. Military officers from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, the United States, and Uruguay also passed through its halls. “Our international integration is quite beneficial. The art of war isn’t cloistered—it’s very open knowledge, and we exchange knowledge and experience,” Brig. Gen. Pereyra said.
ESGE-EPG was founded in 1904. After more than 100 years of educational service, its headquarters are now housed in a historic building in Chorrillos, Lima, considered a national heritage site.
ESGE-EPG hosts national and international students and teachers. “To be at the school is a very nice, enriching experience. It’s quite a demanding environment, from an academic standpoint,” said Argentine Army Major Diego Hernán Delmé, a second-year student in the Master of Military Science program. Maj. Delmé also trains to serve as a visiting professor in the Combat Intelligence and Operational Planning courses.
Among the advantages of the graduate school, he says, is the strengthening of bonds of friendship and camaraderie among military professionals in the region. “To meet professionals from other countries, have contact with peers in the region, and come to realize that we basically speak the same language and come from the same military viewpoint, is essential for our professional development,” Maj. Delmé said.
International military personnel also value the exchange of international experiences. For Colombian Army Colonel Wilson Abraham Villamil Pineda—a visiting professor specialized on the subject of the evolution of conflict in Colombia—sharing knowledge on the art of war is an added advantage to the school. “Students are quite motivated to learn what happened in other countries in terms of conflicts,” Col. Villamil said. “Such rapport is very motivating for service members studying at ESGE-EPG, as it allows them to learn from other militaries and gain a more global perspective on what happens in the world.”
“The goal is to stir the critical and creative thinking that general staff officers must have to be able to assess and advise,” said Peruvian Army Lieutenant Colonel José Luis Benavidez Acosta, an ESGE-EPG instructor who teaches the Intelligence Preparation on the Battlefield course. Lt. Col. Benavidez is also a graduate of the institution. “It’s quite demanding, both for the student and the teacher. The school must meet all quality standards,” Lt. Col. Benavidez said. “From the time of my studies in 2014 up to now, the school evolved in its approach to the new roles the Army has to meet the government’s needs for the armed forces.”
ESGE-EPG runs a program with the Army High Command, a year-long course for colonels to have the opportunity to get trained in Strategic Planning, Security, Defense, and Peace Operations, among other subjects. The two-year Master in Public Management is offered in partnership with the University of the Pacific, also in Lima.
Academic courses for officers at the rank of major and above include a Master in Military Science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management, taught at San Ignacio de Loyola University, and a Postgraduate Diploma in General Staff Operations. ESGE-EP is an institution accredited by the Council on the Assessment, Accreditation, and Certification of Quality in Graduate Education, a specialized agency within the Peruvian Ministry of Education.
Among ESGE-EPG’s unique offerings, its innovative and nationally unprecedented virtual training center stands out. Known as the Army Computerized Tactical Training Center (CETAC, in Spanish), it conducts virtual simulations to train and prepare service members and civilians alike. “CETAC was created out of necessity to see results for the plans we drafted to aid the public in case of disasters and to look for ways to make our operational plans for counterterrorism more precise,” said Peruvian Army Colonel (R) Guillermo Gamaliel M. Ortiz Herrera, a CETAC specialist in virtual simulations management, defense operations, natural disasters, and crisis management. “Our vision is to be a national leader among training centers that use virtual scenario simulations.”
The history of ESGE-EPG is renowned in Peru. “In 2017, we held an international conference, and we have academic agreements with foreign militaries. Nationally, we have agreements with prestigious universities such as University of the Pacific and San Ignacio de Loyola University,” Brig. Gen. Pereyra said. Several courses will also be added to the school’s academic program. Among them, the Risk Management and Disaster Response program stands out.
“Our biggest challenge lies in training future leaders of our country,” Brig. Gen. Pereyra said. “Not just in all military fields, but also in society’s new challenges.”