GABORONE, Botswana: Twenty-eight instructors from the U.S. and Botswana worked together to train 115 officers and Non-Commissioned Officers from the Botswana Defense Forces (BDF) during the second iteration of the Botswana Tactical Intelligence Course (BTIC-II), Oct. 5 - Nov. 18.
Maj. Bob Blair, the course's Officer-In-Charge from U.S. Army Africa military intelligence, or G2 section, said this is the second stage of a three-stage capability build for the BDF. The first iteration ran from December 2010 to January 2011.
"BTIC is designed for junior military officers and NCOs with little to no military intelligence experience. This course prepares officers to serve as MI professionals on a staff or in an operational HQ [headquarters]. In addition, BTIC also promotes partner nation cooperation and coordination and provides a standard military process within the partner community," Blair said.
The BDF instructors, under the expert tutelage of the Regional Joint Intelligence Training Facility mentors, have spent weeks studying their assigned course materials. Before taking the podium in class, each instructor conducts a rehearsal incorporating both mentor and peer observation. The assigned RJITF mentor evaluates the instructor on his or her performance and provides feedback after the class, intervening if necessary to ensure learning objectives are met.
"The U.S. Army is doing a good job by giving this training to Botswana because it will go on to enhance our collection analysis capability especially during this times of increased crime, poaching and cattle rustling," said Capt. Ronny Samakabadi, BDF adjunct instructor.
Petty Officer 1st Class Rory Rankin, intelligence specialist in the U.S. Navy, and one of the course instructors, said the course is featuring many firsts: The first use of multiple Joint Military Intelligence Instructors, the first shared responsibility of instruction between U.S. and partner nation instructors and the first integrated officers/NCO final exercise, all of which make this course a more memorable experience for instructors.
"It has been an unforgettable experience both culturally and professionally for me," Rankin said.
Blair says it is rewarding to interact with the Botswana officers and NCOs because he knows they will go back to their units and take full advantage of the opportunity to better inform their commanders on a broad range of operational challenges.
Thirty-five officers participated in a five-week program while 80 NCOs followed an 18-day program in consecutive groups of 40. All 115 students came together for a week-long final exercise. The course is intended to transition primary responsibility of instruction from U.S. to Botswana in 2013.
The third BTIC will transition to 100 percent BDF instruction. This opportunity will make a difference by empowering the BDF to enable them professionally towards the future, Rankin said.
Headquartered in Vicenza, Italy, U.S. Army Africa is the Army Service Component Command for U.S. Africa Command. Dedicated to positive change in Africa, U.S. Army Africa enables full spectrum operations while conducting sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote security, stability, and peace.
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