FORT BENNING, Ga. - Brig. Gen. Douglas R. Satterfield, deputy commander, 412th Theater Engineer Command, had the pleasure to engage with U.S. and international military and law enforcement officers during a recent invite to address graduates at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation May 15, 2012.

Satterfield, addressing an audience that combined graduating classes of the Civil Affairs Operations Course, Engineer Operations Course and the Cadet Leadership Development Course, spoke about how leadership is the key to ensuring that we have the right military and police leaders to help carry on with our democratic traditions.

The 412th TEC deputy commander also referenced the importance of building, sustaining and reinforcing positive relationships with our friends and allies in the region, given WHINSEC's large and diverse student body from countries throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The institute's student population averages about 1,000 a year and represents military, law enforcement, and governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Lt. Col. Victor Green, who attended the Intermediate Level Education course at WHINSEC from 2006-2007, spoke of the chance to learn and work alongside counterparts from Canada, the Carribean and Latin America.

"It was a great opportunity to share military and personal experiences in an educational environment with officers from other countries and services. I learned how to operate in a joint and combined environment, learned how officers from other countries conduct operations, and travel abroad to participate in training events," he said.

"We visited the Peace Keeping Operations Institute Headquarters located in Rio de Janeiro and participated in a three-day Peace Keeping Operations STAFFEX. We also visited their War College Institute and visited an Airborne Brigade, all in one week," he said.

But when it's all said and done, Green articulated that it boils down to learning from each others' experience and sustaining positive relations with fellow officers from neighboring countries.

"It's the opportunity to share diversity and the camaraderie that is developed during the course of a year that last a lifetime," he said.

Green is currently assigned to the 412th Theater Engineer Command in Vicksburg, Miss.

WHINSEC is located Fort Benning and is a Department of Defense facility under the direction of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

The institute's mission is to provide professional education and training to military, law enforcement, and civilian personnel of the Western Hemisphere within the context of the democratic principles of the Organization of the American States; fosters mutual knowledge, transparency, confidence, and cooperation among participating nations; and promotes democratic values, respect for human rights, and knowledge and understanding of US customs and traditions.