The Chief of Defence Staff, General. Lucky Irabor, has reiterated his commitment to promoting joint operations planning towards tackling the myriad contemporary security challenges bedeviling the nation. The CDS stated this at the opening ceremony of the second edition of the Defence Headquarters sponsored Joint Operations Planning Exercise (JOPEX) codenamed “Exercise SKY LOCK’’ for participants of the Army, Naval and Air Force War Colleges held at Army War College Nigeria on Tuesday 7 October, 2022 in Abuja. General Irabor further added that the idea of the joint exercise for the 3 war colleges was conceived to enhance collaboration among the services during planning and execution phases of operations .

The CDS added that the second edition of the exercise was built around contemporary, realistic and real-time security events in Nigeria and beyond. He said the exercise marked the culmination of several months of significant efforts made towards developing the skills of participants of the 3 war colleges in operational art, design and decision-making processes among others. In his words, “It is certainly another milestone in the professional military education trajectory of the Nigerian military in the quest to properly equip our officers for present and future assignments”.

“As think-tanks of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the war Colleges are indeed the laboratories and incubation centres for the production of military operational level planners and leaders”. General Irabor said the product of the exercise will form part of the military strategic decisions for some ongoing and future operations, adding that this underscores the significance of the exercise and the resources committed to its actualisation. According to the CDS, the event demonstrates the ability of the war colleges to ensure they maintain an enduring tradition that would enshrine joint planning culture at the operational level.
He expressed optimism that the knowledge, skills and capacities that the participants had acquired in operational art would enhance their professional judgment in a joint operating environment. He therefore urged the participants to keep an open-mind and take calculated risks, adding that the knowledge from the exercise would be key to their effective functioning in the complex contemporary security environment. According to the CDS, “One area we expect such open-mindedness is in proffering workable solutions to the myriad of security challenges facing the nation such as in the North East, North West and North Central as well as other areas affected by insecurity”.

In his remarks, the Commandant, Army War College Nigeria (AWCN), Major General Bamidele Alabi, said that the Joint Planning Exercise underscored the efforts of the Colleges to promote collaboration within the Armed Forces and with other security agencies and Departments. Major General Alabi said the primary mandate of the services war colleges was to build the capacity of operational level leaders in the Armed Forces in the management of war. He said that the Colleges also had the mandate to develop the basic strategic skills of officers in the employment of military power across different domains and operating environments. He further said that, in the nearly six years since inception of the war colleges, the contributions of the alumni to ongoing military efforts to address challenges of insecurity in the country have indeed justified their establishment.

He said the participants of the Colleges could benefit more through deliberate efforts to promote joint academic activities among the colleges in line with the vision of the Chief of Defence Staff. General Alabi said the conduct of the second edition of JOPEX is one of the milestones to promote understanding and collaboration not only between the colleges but also to enhance joint operation in our Armed Forces as a whole. The week long exercise had 122 participants drawn from the 3 Services war colleges comprising 74 from Army War College Nigeria; 22 from Naval War College and 17 from Air Force War College. These numbers include participants from other Ministries, Department and Agencies as well as allied countries. The exercise also had Umpires and Observers from Defence and Services Headquarters, as well as sister security agencies in attendance.

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