Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) will soon establish the National Defence University that would impart to senior military officers and civilians knowledge and skills to better undertake national and multinational assignments.
The university will be established by RDF in partnership with the US military, according to Lt Col Innocent Munyengango, Defence and Military Spokesperson.
Munyengango told The New Times that RDF has already had talks with delegates from United States National Defence University (NDU) to have the university up and running in the near future.
He said that while RDF has come a long way, from the 1990’s force made up of patriotic warriors who liberated the country and stopped the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and established training facilities for both junior and senior officers, there is need to move to another level of its training ladder by establishing a strategic level National Defence University.
He noted that in order to produce and sustain the required multi-level human resource base, RDF needs to move to another level.
“The National Defence University will impart to senior military and civilian officers the required knowledge and skills to ensure a concerted and successful inter-agency cooperation towards achieving national and multinational assignments,” Munyengango told The New Times on Friday.
“At the same time, the college will produce graduates who are skilled critical thinkers and complex problem solvers,” he added.
Last week, three-day deliberations were held between RDF and their American counterparts and ended with optimism to establish the higher professional military training institution.
The parties agreed to continue exchanging and working towards achieving milestones set along the agreed timeline.
According to Munyengango, there is a possibility to have the university in place by 2020.
He said that candidates will be senior officers from the rank of colonel upwards and qualified civilians. He also added that the army is still looking at where the university will be built.
“Today, the RDF is a professional force that not only protects the territorial integrity of Rwanda but also participates extensively in the nation-building, and pursues, protects and promotes the country’s national interests,” he said
He added the proposed defence university would also help RDF strengthen its human resource capacity development and professionalisation of the armed forces.
The force, he said, will reinforce the existing military training facilities.
These include basic and low-level military training school, a school of infantry, a cadet training academy, a special force training school, and a PSO training school.
“The need for mid-level operational commanders and staff officers is also catered for at Rwanda Defence Force Command and Staff College in Musanze District that has been in existence since 2012,” he said.
“All these training institutions combined have enabled the RDF to develop into a force that has well trained and capable troops, led by well-equipped tactical and operational commanders”.
According to Lt Col Jason Farmer, the Defence Attaché at the US Embassy in Kigali, last week’s talks yielded tangible results.
“We’re in the very initial stages of discussing how to put together a National Defence University here in Rwanda; what that would look like in the Rwandan context as it will be the first time that Rwanda builds a strategic level educational institution,” said Farmer.
He pointed out that it’s absolutely feasible adding that the National Defence University in the United States is eager to partner with Rwanda Defence Force in this effort.
“Rwanda already has a number of academies and institutions, including the Command Staff College in Musanze, the NCO academy in Gabiro, and the Rwanda Military Academy in Gako.
“There is already a culture of professional military education here and this is simply adding the next level at the Colonel and above in their educational and professional military career,” he added.