The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, said that joint operations launched in the last few years has recorded successes, but it is yet to achieve desired level of joint force integration.
Olonisakin identified training variance by the three services, Army, Navy and Air Force, as responsible for this.
The CDS spoke in Abuja on Wednesday at the opening of a two-day maiden “Training Conference” organised by the Defence Headquarters – DHQ.
The theme of the conference was: `Capacity development to combat emerging security challenges.’’
He noted that joint force integration would ensure that joint operations were “seamless, achieve economy of efforts and yet potent enough to achieve desired end-state under a unified command structure.’’
“It is noteworthy that from the entry point of an officer at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) through mid-career training at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, up to the strategic level course in the National Defence College, the armed forces of Nigeria has strived for joint training.
“This informed the review of the mandates of these colleges which on establishment were single service institutions, to conduct tri-service training.
“Regrettably, the emphasis on joint training in these institutions have not translated to the desired level in the conduct of our joint operations,’’ the CDS said.
He said to achieve joint force capabilities, there was need to focus on joint training at all levels.
Olanisakin said: “It has therefore become expedient to interrogate the conduct of our training at all levels with a view to examining whether it supports our aspiration for enhance joint operation for the armed forces of Nigeria.”
He said enhanced joint training was one of the critical steps in developing joint force capability in addition to equipment, logistics and other requirements.
Declaring the conference open, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali expressed happiness that the armed forces was focusing on improving capacity for not just the rank and file but various levels of military leadership.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Nuratu Batagarawa, Dan-Ali said: “The increasing need for joint operations within the last few years is indicative of the importance of synergy and cooperation between all arms and services in the conduct of our operations.
“This joint approach to military operations has been effective and result-oriented in achieving successful outcomes in addition to the single service operations.’’
He noted that training was one area of capacity building that requires collective and continuous review to better prepare for current and emerging challenges.
The minister commended the defence headquarters for the conference which he said was a way of proffering actionable recommendations for improved joint training to address the nation’s security challenges.