The Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of Defense Analysis has spent the first quarter of 2014 assisting Northern African nations improve the security of their land and sea borders through a series of workshops.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of State, faculty experts have presented to individual leadership cohorts from Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia, and currently Morocco with focused coursework on international border security, land and sea, and transnational terrorism.
The overall training program is targeted to give coalition military officers, law enforcement and civilian leadership a foundational knowledge of the international maritime environment, and intricacies of transnational terror.
Dr. John Arquilla, defense analysis Chair and Director of NPS’ Information Operations Center, helped facilitate this first workshop of its kind at NPS.
“The workshop began a year ago when the State Department invited Egyptian leadership to work with us in talks on maritime and land border security,” said Arquilla. “We feel like it is extremely important to reach out to internationals especially given that [nearly] a fourth of our student population is made up of foreign national students.”
Assistant Professor of Defense Analysis Dr. Heather Gregg, led the second iteration of the workshop, focused on Algeria and Tunisia, in early- to mid-February.
“This is the continuation of a project that started last year. We want to be able to provide these fledgling democracies with resources to think about maritime and land security,” said Gregg. “We are working to improve interagency collaboration between the various ministries of our partner nations in North Africa.”
“We’re invested in setting up dialogue to find better ways to protect North African countries’ ports, shores, and borders and to address any and all security concerns,” said Gregg. “We very much want the workshop to be an exchange vice a course.”
The International Border Security Workshops also give way to collaboration between the State Department and the Department of Defense, and NPS, for the sake of interacting and supporting North Africans.
“We are also trying to facilitate an exchange of ideas of ideas between NPS professors and practitioners from these countries, it is a great opportunity for all of us,” continued Gregg.
Gregg, who oversaw the land border portion of the Algeria/Tunisia workshop, led the charge in gathering qualified NPS faculty to facilitate the dialogue. Retired Navy Capt. Jeff Kline led the maritime security portion. The workshop opened up with maritime-focused discussion.
“Maritime security is very unique in that, between the United States, Algeria, and Tunisia; we all share the common border that is the maritime environment,” said Kline.
Kline saw NPS’ value for the workshop as threefold. NPS stands to gain in its greater appreciation to the North African region due to the priceless Algerian and Tunisian perspective, said Kline. The exchange of experience gives instructors the tools necessary to work with resident students from the North African region.
“This workshop is an opportunity to make Algerian and Tunisian senior leadership aware of what goes on here at NPS.” said Kline. “They may be more inclined to send junior officers for resident courses because they see the value in what we do here.
“Of course, through the United States Engagement Policy in the Partnership for Peace,” added Kline, “this workshop helps with those international relations in that region, which is true for many of our short workshops.”
“This just seemed natural,” added Arquilla. “We believe very much in building a global network that helps to deal with the problems of terrorism and this just seemed like the natural thing for us to do.”
The next iteration of the workshop, focused on Morocco, began in early March. Moroccan Police Commissar Abdul Raheem noted the first time he had been to the U.S. was to attend the course.
“[Border security] is an important area of study for us,” said Raheem. “We are happy to be able to travel to U.S. to share ideas in a forum like this with our American counterparts.”
The effort continues when border security officials from Egypt return for a follow-on course later this year.