On September 15, 2011, CHDS hosted a group of students enrolled in the Staff Course (Curso de Estado Mayor – CEM) from the National War College of Colombia (La Escuela Superior de Guerra) who are currently touring United States institutions, including the Kennedy Space Center, the Naval Station at Norfolk, the Naval Air Station Oceana, and the Inter-American Defense College, which is a neighbor to CHDS at Fort Lesley J. McNair. On this particular visit, a total of 44 students were accompanied by the Deputy Joint Chief of Staff for Logistics/ Chief of Logistics of the Colombian Military Forces Command, BG Juan Gilberto Valencia Hurtado.
CHDS Deputy Director, Mr. Ken LaPlante, greeted the group, after which followed a brief overview of the history and mission of CHDS by Professor Guillermo Pacheco, who emphasized the integral nature of civilians as defense and policymaking leaders. Afterward, a panel of professors including Dr. Michael Gold-Biss, Dr. Jaime Garcia, and Dr. Alejandro Arbelaez spoke to the group about the importance of strategic leadership and good governance in defense policy decision-making.
Mr. Garcia emphasized the importance of being a good leader both within and outside military and political decisions; a good leader can be effective in any situation, political or military. Dr. Gold-Biss then spoke about the relevance of governance and the impact of threats to a government’s stability. Finally, Dr. Arbeláez emphasized that public policy and security must be aligned in their political and institutional orientation, lest the government devolve into demagoguery.