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JINJA, Uganda -- Naval War College (NWC) professors wrapped up a weeklong visit to Uganda Jan. 16, where they promoted professional military education at the Ugandan Senior Command and Staff College.

National Security Decision Making (NSDM) Department professors Kevin Kelley, Larry McCabe, and Derek Reveron delivered several lectures and exchanged ideas about defense education with their African counterparts at the command and staff college throughout the week. The team collaborated with Ugandan military faculty to develop ideas about national security and leadership that will be used in the Senior Command and Staff College curriculum.

"Working with the Ugandan Senior Command and Staff College is rewarding from both a professional and personal perspective," said McCabe. "Not only do we learn a great deal from each other, we are also building friendships that will last a lifetime."

The trip is part of NWC efforts to support the maritime strategy, which encourages expanded cooperative relationships with other nations. With strengthening maritime security cooperation as one of the Naval War College's four missions, one way the Naval War College contributes is through partnerships and engagements with other military colleges around the world.

Staying at Kimaka Barracks outside of Jinja, the NWC team immersed themselves in Ugandan culture and military thinking. While Uganda is a land-locked country, it does have the largest tropical lake in the world and an extensive river network. Developing a riverine capability is seen as critical. Uganda is also working to bring peace to hotspots in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the request of, and funded by, the new United States Africa Command, the NWC team developed a program that enhances the U.S. embassy's ongoing efforts to facilitate the professionalization of the Uganda People's Defense Force.

The NWC team followed an April 2008 visit by United States Africa Command Commander, Gen. William E. Ward. During a 30-minute address to approximately 200 military students at the Ugandan Senior Command and Staff College, Ward emphasized the critical nature of education and learning to the development of a professional officer corps. NWC's team visit is an example of how the Naval War College assists combatant commands with conducting security cooperation activities.

The U.S. Security Assistance Officer assigned to the U.S. Embassy country team, Maj. Vince Golembeski, noted that the NWC visit plays an important role in the embassy's programs to assist the Ugandan military strengthen its professional military education programs.

Both Golembeski and the Ugandan Senior Command and Staff College directing staff emphasized the need for a sustained relationship between the two colleges. Lt. Col. Haggai Dulo of the directing staff said that NWC engagement is "a wonderful experience for the directing staff and the students. The discussions are outstanding, and I look forward to developing the relationship."

A follow-up visit by a Naval War College faculty team is planned for June.

"Engagement programs like these not only provide important curriculum support to defense colleges around the world, but also enable NWC professors to bring these experiences back to the classroom in Newport," said NSDM Chair Joan Johnson-Freese.

As Uganda develops maritime security in the African Great Lakes region and its riverine capability and contributes to regional defense in Somalia, the NWC team's ideas will be used to further Uganda's efforts to bring peace to a region greatly affected by war.

By Derek S. Reveron and Larry McCabe, Naval War College Public Affairs