FORT BENNING, Ga. (July 11, 2012) -- The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation's board of visitors, a federally chartered oversight committee, met in its annual Columbus session June 27-28.

The June 27 session, held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Columbus, included information updates from Michael Fortin, Office of the Secretary of Defense Policy Division; Francisco Palmieri, Department of State Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs; Brig. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, representing U.S. Northern Command; and Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander of U.S. Southern Command.

At the heart of the two-day meeting, Institute commandant, Col. Glenn Huber Jr., briefed the board on "rebalancing WHINSEC's focus," an analysis of what has been accomplished since the last board meeting and what he sees in the organizations future.

Three major achievements were highlighted: The accreditation of Intermediate Level Education Course to offer a Master of Military Art and Science through the Command & General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Five students in the course who graduated in May earned the MMAS.

The Institute's Captains Career Course now parallels the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning, allowing U.S. captains to attend with their regional counterparts. Six Army captains are enrolled in the course beginning Thursday and graduate Dec. 13.

The Roy Benavidez NCO Academy has been approved to offer a Senior Enlisted Advisor Course based on the Army's First Sergeants and Sergeants Major Course. The first class will start in April.

Plans for the future include analyzing the needs of the U.S. and partner nations to see which courses are most crucial to needs and to increase the numbers of students in those courses.

Locating the courses at Fort Benning will allow more interaction with international students from outside the Western Hemisphere, with the possibility some Maneuver Center of Excellence international students will come to WHINSEC for a follow-on course before leaving.

WHINSEC has provided professional education and training to security personnel from all the nations of the Western Hemisphere for more than 11 years. It has served more than 14,000 students from 34 countries.

The Institute also fosters professional and personal relationships among the nations represented.

Courses range from tactical and technical subjects to civil-military information to professional military subjects, and provide instruction to students from sergeant to colonel and their police and civilian equivalents.

All courses at the Institute emphasize respect for human rights, the rule of law, due process, civilian control of the military and the role of the military in a democratic society.

The faculty consists of U.S. military and civilian personnel, as well as partner-nation guest instructors.