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Botswana Defence Force (BDF)
Defence Command & Staff College
Defence Command & Staff College

Following a decision taken in 2004 by the Defence Council, Botswana Defence Force established the Defence Command and Staff College (DCDC) in January 2008 under Commandant, Colonel Gotsileene Morake.

The movement towards the College’s establishment started last year, when the Directing Staff or Instructors were posted to the Staff College in April 2007. The College staff had to move at full speed in order to meet the Commander’s deadline of opening the Staff College on 7 January 2008.

As the name implies, the purpose of the college is to train and develop officers to command and lead units and men of the Botswana Defence Force in the defence of the nation. This is out of realisation that commanders at all levels require competent Staff Officers who are specialists in various military competencies to support commanders in making utility plans and critical decisions to ensure successful conduct of operations. In that regard, the Defence Command and Staff College is expected to provide Commanders and Staff Officers with a military training programme that is relevant to operational environment of Botswana, using the terrain and equipment that BDF has, and under the unique circumstances that prevail in Botswana.

The establishment of the DCSC is a timely development given that it has always been the intention of the BDF to train the maximum number of its officers at the senior command and staff level. However, in the past there have been a limited number of vacancies offered at Foreign Staff Colleges, which comes at a high cost per person trained. Even with the setting up of the College, BDF will, however, continue to send a limited number of officers to foreign staff colleges on the principle of exchange and to continue to benchmark on international best practices.

The Defence Command and Staff College has been benchmarked with other regional premier institutions like Zambian Command and Staff College and South African National War College. Also understudied were other reputable staff colleges like Kenya Defence Command and Staff College, Defence Services Staff College in Wellington India, as well as the Advanced Command and Staff Course in the United Kingdom.

Discussing the main challenges en¬countered in setting up the College, Colonel (now Brigadier) Morake mentioned identification and putting together the Staff College team, as well as training them for the task. Other challenges were:
• To develop a robust curriculum that will give us the type of officers we want both in terms of military competence and character.
• To write the manuals required for the course.
• To find suitable premises to conduct the course (ending up in rented premises which will be used until the College’s permanent building is constructed).
• To identify and recruit qualified support staff such as cartographers, and librarians.
• The procurement of all the training and support equipment.

The Directing Staff (DS) are drawn from all the Combat, Combat Support and Combat Service Support elements of the BDF. This is because DS have to be a representative of all the military disciplines and specialities in the BDF. The DCSC is an All Arms School.

Brigadier Morake points out that since the BDF does not operate in isolation, in addition to the purely military training content, there is other relevant training provided by other agencies. Other relevant government departments occasionally present on issues that can affect military operations. For example, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (who is now the Vice President) Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe has presented on Botswana’s foreign policy. In order for the College students to understand the national capacity, visits have been undertaken to other strategic institutions such as Bank of Botswana, Debswana, Botswana Bureau of Standards, and Meteorological Services.

DCSC is in partnership with the University of Botswana, and in particular the Centre for Strategic Studies, which delivers approximately 30 percent of the curriculum. Work is underway on Associate Status with the University of Botswana and will at the end of the course award a UB Diploma in Military and Strategic Studies (DMSS). The College is also working towards accreditation with the Botswana Tertiary Council (BOTA) since the Defence Command and Staff College is a tertiary level institution.

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