NEWPORT, R.I. – The Naval War College (NWC) has implemented an International Fellows Program which is designed to solidify relationships between the United States Navy and the navies of partner countries. The International Fellows’ job is to assist the faculty by providing NWC officer students with insights into other nations’ military thinking, broadened perspectives on regional issues and increased awareness of how defense and security considerations are viewed in other regions and cultures.
The four officers selected as “Fellows” for the academic year 2010-11 are Capt. (select) Lee Goddard of Australia, Cmdr. Pablo Niemann of Chile, Lt. Col. Dennis Kamuri of Kenya, and Capt. Hossam Ebraheem from Egypt.
The International Fellows are selected by the President of the Naval War College from among candidates who have performed superbly while completing the Naval Command College (NCC). Once nominated as International Fellows, selectees must obtain authorization and funding from their home navy to remain at NWC for the one to two additional years this academic commitment requires.
“This program expands our international efforts at the War College and supports Admiral Wisecup’s long-term goal to increase and enhance engagement opportunities with our global partners,” said Professor Vince Mocini, Dean of International Programs and Maritime Security Cooperation. “It will also increase our understanding of our allies by allowing international officers to receive joint military education while exchanging ideas and information about global regional issues with their American counterparts at the college.”
Under the program, each international officer will conduct research, draft papers, assist in the classroom, and volunteer their services and expertise supporting regional activities, events and faculty at the college. Specifically, these efforts can include acting as regional experts at meetings, symposia and colloquia, observing and contributing to the planning and executing war games, assisting full-time faculty by providing regional expertise in core and elective programs at the War College and serving as members of regional study groups.
“Each of these alumni brings a unique perspective and skill set to the table,” Mocini said. “They are paired with faculty members, who will serve as their mentors and partners throughout the duration of the program.”
This year’s selectees have already immersed themselves into their new roles and opportunities at NWC. Capt. (select) Lee Goddard is currently involved with a “think-tank” in the China Maritime Studies Institute.
“I’m also paired with a senior professor in the Strategy and Policy Department and I’m co-moderating several core courses and electives with a specific focus on geopolitics and the Asia-Pacific Region,” said Goddard, who has served in the Australian Navy for 24 years. “I think it’s relevant and beneficial for the War College to embrace perspectives of the future naval leaders from the major regions of the world. This extra time also provides the four of us the opportunity to follow-up on previous studies and participate in more lectures of opportunity, conferences and seminars in our specific areas of military interest.”
Cultural interaction with officers from around the globe and the reputation of NWC also influenced the students who applied for the educational program.
“The history between the Chilean Navy and the War College is very strong—we’ve had several Flag Officers graduate from here over the years,” said 24-year Navy veteran Cmdr. Pablo Niemann. “What excites me the most is the opportunity to learn about the people and cultures found at this prestigious institution. This new initiative and the International Programs at the college also provide the American students exposure to our personal and professional perspectives and how we view the United States.”
The challenging but rewarding year spent as a student in NCC also heightened the students’ desire for additional education.
“I graduated in June from NCC and wanted to take advantage of the learning opportunities that are available through the program,” said Lt. Col. Dennis Kamuri, who joined the Kenya Navy in 1989. “This could be a career-changing time for me. My current hands-on training in the classroom will allow me to develop my teaching skills and become a better instructor if I am posted to the Defense Staff College in Kenya. I’m also working toward my master’s degree at Salve Regina University during my extra year in Newport.”
After serving more than 23 years in the Egyptian Navy, Capt. Hossam Ebraheem views his extended time at NWC as the ideal opportunity to experience the superior instruction by the faculty and to exchange ideas with highly-educated officers on a daily basis.
“The level of coursework preparation and classroom instruction can’t be found anywhere else,” said Ebraheem, who specializes in surface warfare for his navy. “I’ve witnessed firsthand how teaching materials and seminar topics are developed and prepared for the students. Assisting in the classroom will also provide me the opportunity to share my professional expertise as well as my country’s regional military and political perspectives.”
The International Fellows Program was fully implemented after NWC’s June graduation and followed a two-year test period at the War College. The initiative also allows the officers to be accompanied by their families during their extended tour in Newport. Eventually, plans call for the number of International Fellows to be four to ten officers, representing the major geographic regions of the world.
By David Reese, Naval War College Public Affairs