By Steve Vanderwerff, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs
PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- International students enrolled in Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity International Training Center's (NITC) International Anti-Terrorism and Piracy (IATP) course visited Pensacola's Gulf Power to understand security measures at potential terrorist targets Aug. 11.
Nineteen students from the Bahamas, Algeria, South Korea, Lebanon, Lesotho, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, South Africa and Yemen are taking the four-week course to provide them with information on the latest developments in anti-terrorism and piracy initiatives, and equip them with the skills to help develop their national and command programs addressing these issues.
"The course is designed to be a participatory learning experience that actively engages the students throughout. They'll benefit not only from the course presentations and materials, but the input of fellow students who come to the course from countries around the world," said NITC Officer in Charge Cmdr. Chris Heaney. "It's the sixth IATP course taught since the course was first offered in 2009."
The course features expert military and civilian guest speakers, numerous case studies, interactive student exercises and field trips. Between lectures the students are given the opportunity to learn more about the United States and the American way of life by taking field trips to New Orleans, regional historical sites and monuments and out-of-classroom activities that focus on IATP subjects, such as visiting United States Coast Guard activities related to Homeland Security, and a Naval Air Station Pensacola harbor tour with Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) officers to learn about port security.
"It was a good experience to see how they manage security using various technologies as the first lines of defense against threats. They also use cooperation between the Navy and Coast Guard, as well as outside contractors to protect against not only potential terrorists, but thieves or other outside influences as well," said Capt. Cezary Cierzan of the Republic of Poland Navy. "It's not done in Poland where private companies work together with the government and the military for security. It was very beneficial to see all the structure and how this issue of security is addressed here in the United States."
According to Heaney, the training enables the successful execution of the Navy's maritime strategy.
"This course is meant for all international officers and civilian equivalents detailed to government positions. However, the content is most applicable to individuals who will return to their respective countries and have direct influence in the areas of anti-terrorism and anti-piracy operations within their service, their country and their region of the world," Heaney said.
The students were funded by the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program. IMET is a State Department security assistance program, managed by the Defense Department's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), to provide professional military training and education to U.S. allies.
Last year, IMET provided training to more than 7,000 students from 130 countries.
"That is building a lot of influence," said Kay Judkins, DSCA's program policy manager. "And that is really what this program is all about: influencing minds and hearts. It's about cooperation, forming relationships and building partnership capacity."
Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity (NETSAFA) coordinates training with the Navy's learning sites, private institutions, and other training providers, depending on a client nation's training needs. More than 6,500 international students from 155 nations attend training annually at various professional military education institutions, warfare community schools, technical centers, and various training sites in support of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) weapons acquisitions. It also manages the NITC aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Fla. The school's preparatory training introduces international students to the U.S. Navy's approach to training.
Prior to becoming known as NITC, it was the International Preparatory School, established in 1985 to meet the needs of Royal Saudi Naval Forces students by providing them additional academic and physical training to enhance their success in the rigorous U.S. Navy flight program.
In 1991, NITC transitioned to the International Technical Training Preparatory School to help prepare all international students to meet the learning demands placed on them in various U.S. Navy technical training courses.
Since then, the school has evolved to include training in numerous military disciplines, both operational and administrative, and has met the needs of more than 45 countries. The school is capable of tailoring programs to meet each client country's needs.