Chilean Army Lieutenant Colonel Gonzalo Lazo, a professor at the Chilean Army War Academy, won first place among 23 members of the armed and security forces of four Latin American countries who took part in the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation’s (WHINSEC) Joint Operations Course. Lt. Col. Lazo was recognized at a May 5 graduation ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The eight-week course is designed to teach decision-making and planning processes to senior officers and civilians from interagency organizations through lectures and case analysis. It also trains participants on integrating joint and multinational coalition operations through lectures from WHINSEC faculty and U.S.-partner nation guests.
Officers from the armed and security forces of Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, and Paraguay participated in the course, the Chilean Army told the press. Among them, Lt. Col. Lazo, whose global vision and knowledge of interoperability earned him first place in the class.
The first week of instruction was dedicated to administrative and permit procedure training, while the following weeks focused on the study of U.S. forces doctrine, Lt. Col. Lazo told Diálogo. “We learned about the defense structure of the United States, the concept of unified action, we delved into its national security strategy within the context of strategic operations; then we analyzed aspects of operational art and the functioning of the capabilities of the country’s different armed forces,” he said.
The course ended with an operational planning exercise to put into practice what had been learned. In the simulated scenario, the force led by the coalition of student officers had to assist the population of several islands in the Baltic Sea, as fictitious hostile countries seized access to the sea.
For Lt. Col. Lazo, the training demonstrated hands-on and in practice Chilean and U.S. military doctrine interoperability. “Chile seeks to fit within peacekeeping operations, and in doing so together with U.S. allies, with NATO, it is very important to ‘speak the same language,’ and with this course that is proven,” he said.
Lt. Col. Lazo valued the myriad visions of the invited officers and the ability to achieve solutions based on common learning. “Being able to discuss with other armed forces and police officers from different countries… and experiences greatly enhance the discussions and the background that one takes away from the course […]. I want to emphasize WHINSEC’s hospitality to ensure that as students we had the ability to have the best possible environment to study, including facilities, recreational activities, and even morality aspects.”
Lt. Col. Lazo plans to share the knowledge acquired from the Joint Operations Course with his students at the War Academy, he said.
The recognition “demonstrates the high quality of our educational institution’s professional and military training, increasing the international prestige of the Chilean Army and its personnel,” the Chilean Army said on its website.