Joint, Combined Training Increases
Interoperability with Partner Nations
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW/SW) RJ Stratchko,
Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Public Affairs
JOHN C. STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NNS) -- Naval Small Craft
Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) and the
Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC)
conducted a joint field training exercise March 6 at Stennis Space
The training was the first time NAVSCIATTS and WHINSEC worked
together in a joint effort. Students represented 24 different
"It's a phenomenal opportunity for two organizations that have been
doing security cooperation for years to come together in joint
efforts enhancing their skills and expertise by bringing a number of
countries together to execute training pertinent to the challenges
that we all face," said Col. Felix L. Santiago, commandant, WHINSEC.
"It's truly remarkable to see that this training is able to make a
difference when folks return to their countries and implement the
skills in mitigating the threats."
NAVSCIATTS and WHINSEC schoolhouses train international students in
maritime and ground-based operations respectively. Both have
particular strengths in cultural sensitivity and bilingual
instructor cadre language capabilities enabling students to focus
more on training and less on language barriers.
"At the beginning, training was difficult because all the countries
were not used to working together, but in a couple of days, our
confidence has become better and at the end we work very well
together," said Lt. Estuardo Antonio Carbaoluna, Guatemalan Navy,
"The experience of working with all the students from all the
countries and to take procedures and security tactics and new
knowledge is important."
WHINSEC and NAVSCIATTS students will use the training to support
U.N. peacekeeping operations, interdict drugs and capture drug
runners, respond to disasters and ultimately help save lives.
"The way of the future is we are moving toward combined, joint and
even interagency operations, so what we see is the NAVSCIATTS and
WHINSEC students get to broaden their horizons, and they get to see
challenges here that they will see in combat or peacekeeping," said
U.S. Army Capt. Brad Miller, chief, special operations division,
Providing technical training to partner nation security force
students improves individual skills, enhances overall readiness and
improves partner nation maritime security force interoperability
with U.S. forces.
"The students get a unique opportunity to work in a multinational
environment, often the first, but likely not the last time, for many
of the students," said Cmdr. Bill Mahoney, commanding officer,
"The demand for maritime focused training - especially in riverine
and littoral environments - is growing exponentially.
"Combatant commanders, embassy security assistance officers and
theater special operations commands are increasingly looking for
training opportunities like NAVSCIATTS to train their partner
nations. NAVSCIATTS recently added an additional in-resident English
semester (eighty seats) to meet the growing demand from
international partner countries."
His command transitioned to fall under Naval Special Warfare Group 4
Feb. 1 to further operationalize the school's mission and improve
the lash-up between NAVSCIATTS riverine and littoral training with
the State Department's and U.S. Special Operations Command's goal to
build partner nation maritime capability.
"NAVSCIATTS is in unique in many ways. We're the only command in the
Navy that exclusively trains international students, and our
location on Stennis Space Center provides superb riverine and
littoral training for our students to work in this maritime
environment. They'll leave here with an increased ability to build
their nations small craft capacity," said Mahoney.
The training is closely aligned with the Navy's maritime strategy of
increasing security and alliances in waterways across the world.
"I think WHINSEC as well as NAVSCIATTS have become a strategic tool
and is significant to what we do, not only in our hemisphere but
throughout the world as long as we have institutions like this that
can enhance skills, foster security cooperation, and build
relationships and partnerships," said Santiago.
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