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Saudi Ministry of Defense Representatives Explore NPS

By MC1 Rob Rubio

A delegation of six senior officers from Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Defense along with Naval Postgraduate School officials are briefed by Naval War College Monterey program Chairman Dr. Fred Drake on how Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) is delivered to NPS students (photo at right). The Saudi delegation visited NPS on May 24-25 to learn more about NPS' graduate education and short course opportunities.

The trip to NPS was a reciprocal exchange to a visit that took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2012, targeted to promoting U.S.-Saudi security cooperation and identifying ways to enhance educational opportunities for Saudi military officers. The U.S.-Saudi initiative has been sponsored and supported by the Vice Provost for Special Initiatives (VPSI) and Dean of the Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences, Dr. Peter Purdue. VPSI activities aim to expand, strengthen and coordinate NPS’ outreach and international initiatives throughout the combatant commands (COCOMs), all of which contribute greatly to attracting international students to NPS resident programs.

United States Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, Fla., and the United States Military Training Mission (USMTM) in Riyadh were instrumental in arranging the trip, and are keenly interested in seeing NPS develop a larger role in providing education to Saudi officers, according to university officials. During their two-day visit, delegation members met with NPS President Dan Oliver and received briefs from representatives of all four schools.

"Saudi Arabia and the United States share a vital strategic relationship,” remarked Mark Huber, Center for Civil Military Relations (CCMR) Program Manager for Middle East and Central Asia. “Security cooperation represents an essential component of that relationship. Leaders in the Saudi Ministry of Defense recognize that NPS offers a wide range of educational opportunities that can enhance security cooperation between our countries, contribute to the professional development of Saudi Arabian military officers, and ultimately, enhance security in the region."

“This cross-campus engagement reflects President Oliver’s desire that the recently-established VPSI position support interdisciplinary outreach activities,” stated Purdue. “It also serves to highlight the value and combined capabilities of the NPS faculty in supporting ongoing partner capacity building efforts of OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense], the COCOMs, and the naval forces, while expanding NPS’ global recognition as the premier graduate academic institution within DoD.”

Currently, six officers from the Royal Saudi Navy are enrolled as full time, in-resident, master's students at NPS. Saudi Arabia is considering sending additional students to the university in 2013.


Photo credit: MC1 Rob Rubio

Posted 3 June, 2012

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