By Natalie LakosilSeptember 6, 2012
Fort Huachuca, AZ. - If a person looks around carefully when using the Post Exchange, Commissary and other facilities on Fort Huachuca, they will note service members wearing a wider mix of uniforms than just those worn by members of the U.S. military. That is because Fort Huachuca hosts military personnel from a variety of countries around the world who train on the installation. Service members from Australia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Saudi Arabia, Germany and other countries come to Fort Huachuca for intelligence and unmanned aircraft system training.
Typically every fiscal year, the fort hosts approximately 150 to 175 international students. Currently there are service members here from about 68 different countries, said Maj. Philip Berry II, chief, Fort Huachuca International Military Student Officer Program. At any given time, the fort has roughly around 95 to 100 international students who are attending classes and courses here.
The international students are mixed in with American Soldiers in almost all courses. They are integrated with the U.S. military captains and lieutenants in the Captain Career Course and the Military Intelligence Basic Officer Leadership Course and with other Soldiers in unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS-related courses.
"Fort Huachuca is the Intelligence Center of Excellence; this is the premiere intelligence training post here in the U.S. or the world. International officers come here to train not only to learn basic unclassified intelligence tasks that we teach them and tactics, technics and procedures but also to learn about the U.S. and its culture. How the government works, human rights, civil rights -- they learn all of these things while here training at Fort Huachuca," Berry said.
International students can be stationed here from six to 20 weeks depending on their specific training.
"The main reason for them being here is for the courses. But not only do they come and learn here, but we also learn from them," Berry said. Berry discussed the mutual learning opportunities for the international and U.S. military officers, as well as the camaraderie and strength it provides the U.S. with those military members from other countries.
"We no longer fight wars alone. We need those partners and other militaries overseas to help out with those conflicts. Building the relationships that they build while they are in school and training within the U.S., not only at the intelligence center but other centers of excellence around the country, is building that partnership with those countries and armies which is very critical to our mission around the world," he added.
The international students learn unclassified basic intelligence tasks and they also train at the Aviation Center of Excellence at the Black Tower Training Facility. Australia is the only country besides the U.S. that is currently using the UAS program here.
In the intelligence courses instructors cover intelligence preparation of the battlefield and basic intelligence tasks that intelligence officers must know in order to perform their job.
"Other countries send their Soldiers here because our Army is the best Army in the world. We have the experience, and we are known around the world as the most professional Army," Berry said.
All ranks -- both officers and enlisted international officers -- come to train at Fort Huachuca.
"They have their [own] military customs, but they fall in. They are here to train with the U.S. Army, so we really integrate them into the courses and the Army. The rules for our Army apply to them as well while they are here. And they understand that; they are very professional. Their country selects the 'best of the best' to come here to train," Berry said.
Training international officers on Fort Huachuca has happened for 40 years. The program was very small in the beginning with only 30 to 40 students per year in training and has now grown into 150 to 175 a year.
There is no maximum number on how many international students can train here. "We can just grow if more want to come, but the process is managed back east so we do not have any control over that," Berry said.