Collective action to face security challenges
By Syafiq Affendy

His Royal Highness Prince General Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, yesterday underscored the importance of having comprehensive joint action with other security forces and multi-national operations in facing diverse challenges during the graduation ceremony of the Command & Staff Course 2010/2011 yesterday at the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Command & Staff College in Sungai Akar Camp.

In his 'Sabda', HRH said: "It is relevant for this Staff College Course to emphasise learning concepts based on joint operations with other local security agencies, including operations with various nations or multi-national operations.

"The reality is that each of these challenges can only be addressed more effectively through a comprehensive approach and cooperation with various parties, or 'whole of government approach', be it in our own country or with the international community."

In congratulating the 20 participants of the Staff College Course, including two from local security agencies and seven participants from friendly countries, HRH lauded them as being the "pioneer group" that has successfully undertaken and completed the course.

"This marks a pinnacle of success, particularly for military officers," HRH said.

Noting that the motto for the participants of this inaugural course was 'The First Is Always The Best', HRH emphasised that the high standards achieved by the participants would serve as a benchmark in gauging the Staff College's capacity to continuously progress as well as contribute towards its excellence.

"I am confident that with the knowledge gained within the last nine months, the participants will be equipped with the knowledge and higher skills required to further assume duties and greater responsibilities that are greater and more challenging in their military leadership," HRH said, adding that the Staff College Course participants have proven their potential to assume greater roles in their respective organisations.

"I believe the participants will be able to excel in their duties towards further enhancing the standards of services in defence and security institutions."

According to HRH, the forging of minds and experience amongst the local and foreign participants is a key feature of the course that is hoped will enrich and add value to the course content as a whole.

"This mutual interaction and exchange of ideas is a beneficial method for cultivating lifelong learning and contributing directly to the development of the latest and most relevant training programmes towards building knowledge capacity as well as higher skills for each level of the defence and security agencies workforce," HRH said.

This achievement is also a step forward for the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces especially in meeting the various local training requirements with the main focus upon developing more officers who are both professional and highly skilled, HRH added.

"I believe that with the strategic co-operative framework with the University of Massey of New Zealand as well as the presence of overseas staff course instructors, the quality and prestige of the courses offered by the Staff College are on par with other renowned institutions abroad.

"We are indeed hopeful that more participants from friendly countries as well as partners from local security agencies will continue to be interested in sending their respective participants to participate in future courses.

"At the same time, I also believe that the friendships and networking forged whilst undergoing the course will be further strengthened as well as mutually appreciated. This of course will help to enhance the understanding and mutual trust which will directly contribute to strengthening the relations and cooperative linkages between respective countries."

This is in line with the defence diplomacy practised by our country and our subsequent capability to build a solid foundation towards maintaining international peace and security, HRH added.

Meanwhile, HRH noted that security and defence issues are also closely intertwined with economic, social and political issues.

In light of this, HRH expressed his pleasure to note that part of the role played by the Staff College is in producing generations of leaders who are always responsive to the challenges and strategic situations of the surrounding security environment which are dynamic and constantly changing.

"It is hoped that future generations of leaders produced by this Staff College will be able to demonstrate first-rate leadership qualities, with integrity, piety and courage," said HRH, adding that a true leader puts the interests of others above his own interests, alongside his duty to act wisely in making all forms of decisions and subsequent actions. - Borneo Bulletin (20th August 2011)